Supreme Court To Review Law Limiting Firearms Possession

Supreme Court To Review Law Limiting Firearms Possession
Eric R. Pangburn West & Dunn attorney Eric R. Pangburn discusses the states’ ability to limit the Second Amendment, and how non-violent felons in Wisconsin are challenging the ruling of a lifetime ban on possession of firearms.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of individual citizens to possess firearms. The Supreme Court has ruled that this right is not absolute. Many states have taken advantage of the ability to limit the Second Amendment. Wisconsin, for example, makes it a crime punishable by a $10,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment for any person convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm. Unlike the law in some states, Wisconsin imposes a lifetime ban on felons possessing firearms.

Wisconsin’s ban is currently being challenged. Leevan Roundtree was convicted of felony failure to pay child support in 2003. Subsequently, police executed a search warrant in Mr. Roundtree’s home. Ultimately, Mr. Roundtree was convicted of felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced to 18 months in prison and 18 months of supervision.

Mr. Roundtree appealed his conviction to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. In his appeal, Mr. Roundtree argued that his conviction violated his constitutional rights. Specifically, Mr. Roundtree argued that it was a violation of the 2nd Amendment for the State of Wisconsin to ban non-violent felons from possessing a firearm for life. He argues that a lifetime ban is only constitutional when applied to those convicted of a violent felony crime.

The Court of Appeals denied Mr. Roundtree’s appeal. In doing so, the Court cited previous Wisconsin cases which have found the right to possess a firearm is subject to reasonable restrictions, including keeping guns out of the hands of felons in order to further public safety. These previous court decisions ruled it was appropriate for a state to forbid possession of firearms by any and all convicted felons based on the legitimate state purpose of protecting the public from the misuse of firearms. The Court in Mr. Roundtree’s case echoed these previous court decisions.

Mr. Roundtree has appealed his case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Court heard oral arguments on September 11, 2020, and its decision is forthcoming.

If you have been charged with a crime or believe your constitutional rights have been violated, the experienced attorneys at West & Dunn can help. Contact us online today for a free consultation.

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