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HomeGeneralIllinois Judge Rules Second Amendment Protects Illegal Migrants’ Gun Rights

Illinois Judge Rules Second Amendment Protects Illegal Migrants’ Gun Rights

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An Illinois federal judge appointed by former President Barack Obama ruled that the Constitution protects the gun rights of noncitizens who enter the US illegally on Friday, March 15, 2024. The ruling came after authorities found a Mexican immigrant living in Chicago in possession of a handgun.

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US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that a federal ban on undocumented immigrants owning firearms is unconstitutional. Hence, the court dismissed the charges against Heriberto Carbajal-Flores. The court found that the federal ban is “facially constitutional.”

Therefore, no regulation permits the government to deprive a noncitizen of exercising his Second Amendment rights. “The noncitizen possession statute violates the Second Amendment as applied to Carbajal-Flores,” the judge wrote. “Thus, the Court grants Carbajal-Flores’ motion to dismiss.”

Notably, Coleman cited the landmark Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen (2022), establishing a new standard for determining whether a law violates the Second Amendment.

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According to court records, authorities arrested Carbajal-Flores in 2020 after violating a federal law that prohibits noncitizens from possessing guns. They subsequently charged him with violating a federal law that forbids unauthorized noncitizens from possessing firearms. 

In an April 2022 decision, Coleman denied Carbajal-Flores’ first motion to dismiss his indictment, finding that the ban was constitutional. However, Carbajal-Flores asked the court to reconsider that ruling following the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen.

He also cited appellate decisions in the Third and Seventh Circuit that considered people prohibited from possessing firearms. Furthermore, Carbajal-Flores maintained that he purchased the gun for self-defense and property protection.

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The defendant claimed he bought it “during a time of documented civil unrest” in the spring of 2020. Upon review, Coleman concluded that Carbajal-Flores’ illegally present status was insufficient to deny him Second Amendment rights.

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The judge said the “plain text” of the Constitution “presumptively protects firearms possession by undocumented persons.” “Carbajal-Flores has never been convicted of a felony,” the judge wrote. “A violent crime, or a crime involving the use of a weapon.” 

“Even in the present case, Carbajal-Flores contends that he received and used the handgun solely for self-protection,” Coleman added. “And property protection during a documented civil unrest in the Spring of 2020.” Furthermore, the judge noted that Pretrial Service confirmed that Carbajal-Flores adhered to the stipulated conditions of his release. 

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Therefore, the court determined that there is insufficient evidence to suggest Carbajal-Flores is a danger to society. Hence, no historical analog would permit the federal government to deny him his gun rights. Following Coleman’s ruling, gun rights activists argued that noncitizens should not have rights protected by the Constitution.

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In addition, many claimed the decision purposefully blurs the line between a citizen and a noncitizen. Speaking on the ruling on “Hannity,” Senate Intelligence Committee member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized it. He claimed that the left is trying to “blur the line between citizenship and people that are here illegally.”

“You almost wonder if it’s not to mock both gun laws,” Rubio said. “And also the whole understanding of the value of being a citizen of the United States of America.” Similarly, Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA), noted the dangers of the ruling.

Pratt reiterated that GOA does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants. “Of course, the courts wouldn’t have to decide this question,” he said, “if Joe Biden and the Democratic Party would simply secure our borders.”

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