Just because one doesn’t have American citizenship doesn’t mean they aren’t protected by the Second Amendment, according to a federal appeals court.
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals made their ruling Thursday on a case involving Mariano Meza-Rodriguez, a technically illegal alien who has been living in the United States since he was about four years old. Constitutionally, Meza-Rodriguez still falls under the umbrella of the Second Amendment, but previous federal law said otherwise. Now, federal law lines up with the Constitution to include “the people” who are living in America, legally or otherwise.
Meza-Rodriguez was arrested in 2013 after a bar fight. Police discovered a .22-caliber round in Meza-Rodriguez’ pocket and he was charged for illegally possessing a firearm or ammunition, but he argued that the charges should be dismissed on the grounds that his Second Amendment rights were being infringed upon.
Chief Judge Diane Wood agreed and ruled that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of “the people’s” right to keep and bear arms does not extend only to those legally living within our border, but to anyone residing in America.
“We see no principled way to carve out the Second Amendment and say that the unauthorized (or maybe all noncitizens) are excluded,” wrote Chief Judge Diane Wood.
Even still, the courts upheld Meza-Rodriguez’ conviction, a direct violation of their ruling, his lawyer argued.
Judge Joel M. Flaum disagreed, saying the Second Amendment does not protect those who live in the country illegally. He did, however, acknowledge the glaring discrepancy in the ruling, adding that the panel shouldn’t have addressed Meza-Rodriguez’ Second Amendment concerns given the fact that possession of a firearm or ammunition by an illegal alien is clearly in violation of federal law.
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)