Donald Trump and Barack Obama on the same side of a Second Amendment issue? It sounds like alternate universe fan fiction, but in this case, it’s true.In a case before SCOTUS, the Trump administration has asked the justices to rule against two men seeking restoration of Second Amendment rights to gun ownership — the same position the Obama administration took in similar cases.
In a case before SCOTUS, the Trump administration has asked the justices to rule against two men seeking restoration of Second Amendment rights to gun ownership — the same position the Obama administration took in similar cases.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2016
Trump has sworn to uphold the Second Amendment ‘at every level,’ to the cheer of gun rights enthusiasts across the country. In January, an opinion piece published on KTAR demonstrated one aspect of current gun laws that some of Trump’s supporters hoped their candidate would dial back.
Specifically, author Mike Russell addresses that under current law, someone found guilty of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison may lose the right to own firearms, regardless of whether the crime is violent, or related to guns at all.
There are exceptions, including for a misdemeanor carrying a sentence fewer than two years. This was consistently upheld under Barack Obama’s Presidency. However, Russell’s voice represented that of many Trump supporters and gun rights advocates when he expressed hope for Trump to change this rule.
Does that mean those that have committed a crime in the past will not be able to defend themselves?
My hope is that Trump will encourage change in this regard.
Today may be the day those dreams were shattered: the L.A. Times reports that the Trump administration advised the Supreme Court to take the same position as under Obama, denying the Second Amendment claim brought by two individuals.
Though both cases have been described as ‘nonviolent,’ neither is exactly the white-collar embezzlement typically brought to mind by that description. Julio Suarez’s conviction, in fact, was for possession of a firearm without a license. Though David Binderup plead guilty to ‘corrupting a minor,’ the offense was a sexual relationship with a teenager, when he himself was 41.
According to the Washington Post, both have been law-abiding citizens (Suarez has one more misdemeeanor, for driving while impaired, in 1998) since these convictions, neither recieved a prison sentence of a year or more (both recieved fines and probation, and Suarez recieved a 180 day suspended sentence), and in both cases, the crimes are more than two decades old.
The pair could appear to be the perfect test cases for Second Amendment rights restoration. However, SCOTUS Blog notes that the question before the court isn’t merely about these two specific individuals, but the language of the law.
Issue: Whether, as used in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B), the term “punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less” means “capable of being punished by a term of imprisonment of two years or less,” or “subject to a term of imprisonment of two years or less.”
In short, the court will decide whether a misdemeanor falls under this exemption if the lightest possible sentence is two years or less, or only if the longest posible sentence for it is below that threshhold. While many Second Amendment activists may be hoping for the former, the Trump administration has recommended in favor of the latter — yet again preparing Trump voters to wonder if they were duped.
Obama may not longer be in office but his policies are still proving to be popular — apparently even with one of his biggest haters — Donald Trump.