Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, May 15, 2023


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U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Decision on Right to Bear Arms Doesn’t Apply to Ex-Felons


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal held on Friday that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year invalidating a New York statute that limited permits for carrying firearms in public to those who had demonstrated “proper cause” does not render invalid a conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The nation’s high court on June 23, 2022, held in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen that “the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” That ruling, Justice Frank J. Menetrez said in the Court of Appeal decision, does not aid appellant Alex Joseph Alexander, convicted in San Bernardino Superior Court of violating California Penal Code sections barring persons convicted of felonies from toting arms.

Alexander was convicted in 2006 of attempted murder.

‘Facially Valid’ Statutes

“We conclude that section 29800(a)(1) and section 30305(a)(1) are facially valid because the possession of firearms and ammunition by convicted felons is not conduct covered by the Second Amendment,” Menetrez wrote.

In Bruen, Justice Clarence Thomas noted that the petitioners were “law-abiding, adult citizens” who “are part of ‘the people’ whom the Second Amendment protects,” declaring:

“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”

Menetrez pointed out:

“Convicted felons, by definition, are not law-abiding. Felons thus are not among ‘the people’ who have an individual right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment.”

‘Law-Abiding Ex-Felons’

The jurist went on to say:

“We…reject Alexander’s contention that law-abiding citizens include ‘law-abiding ex-felons.’ The argument is foreclosed by Bruen. Bruen reasoned that laws requiring concealed carry applicants to undergo background checks do not violate the right to bear arms for self-defense in public….A background check seeks to determine whether a person has been convicted of a crime in the past, not whether the person is presently committing additional crimes. Bruen described a background check requirement as ensuring that only those who are law-abiding are allowed to bear arms….It follows that the Second Amendment right afforded to law-abiding citizens does not extend to convicted felons who are presently refraining from committing additional crimes.”

The case is People v. Alexander, 2023 S.O.S. 1466.


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