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December 23, 2011

Decades-old misdemeanor blocks gun purchase

Attention, #NRA and other #gun rights advocates: a federal judge Friday said a misdemeanor that occured in 1968 is sufficient to block a gun purchase in the 21st century.

In a 15-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the gun-purchase prohibition does not violate the Second Amendment rights of Jefferson Wayne Schrader. The facts are these, as related by Judge Collyer:

Back in 1968 when Jefferson Schrader was 20 years old and in the Navy, he was in a fistfight with a member of a gang that had previously attacked him on the street in Annapolis, Maryland. He was arrested and convicted in a Maryland State court of common law misdemeanor assault and battery. He received a $100 fine and no jail time. Forty years later, as Mr. Schrader attempted to purchase firearms, his attempts were rebuffed when he was identified in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) as ineligible since his 1968 conviction could have resulted in a sentence of two years or more and federal law prohibited his purchase.

 Collyer concluded that, as old and seemingly minor as it was, Schrader's conviction was still sufficient to fit under the prohibitions enumerated in the Brady gun control act.



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in a sentence of two years or more and federal law prohibited his purchase.

Melvin H.

Why would "ex post facto" not apply here, or be used as grounds to overturn that decision?
The Brady bill went into effect about two decades after the incident in question here; seemingly, the man has been effectively charged with a felony, for the purposes of purchasing a gun. That might bring into question whether the punishment would be ex post facto such that the punishment was increased after the crime and conviction had been served.
It would be as if the state, having ticketed you for speeding and fined you, say, $35 & two points on the license 30 years ago, disallows your renewing the license because you did not pay the "today" fine (I.e. $100 + $10/mile over, + four points) and time in the county jail--said change having passed five years ago after your previous renewal.

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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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