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US Supreme Court sides with immigrant in gun possession case

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Aim1, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Aim1

    Aim1 Member

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    From the article:

    The Supreme Court on Friday found that prosecutors have to prove that an individual alleged to have illegally possessed a firearm must know that they are part of a group banned from having the gun in the first place.

    In a 7-2 ruling, the justices sided with United Arab Emirates citizen Hamid Rehaif, who shot firearms at a gun range after he was dismissed from college over bad grades and told that his immigration status under his student visa would be terminated.


    Alito was highly critical of the ruling in the dissenting opinion, noting that the federal gun statute at hand applies to individuals like convicted felons, stalkers and those who commit acts of domestic violence.

    "Today's decision will make it significantly harder to convict persons falling into some of these categories, and the decision will create a mountain of problems with respect to the thousands of prisoners currently serving terms" for convictions under that law, he argued.



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    https://news.google.com/articles/CBMibWh0dHBzOi8vdGhlaGlsbC5jb20vcmVndWxhdGlvbi9jb3VydC1iYXR0bGVzLzQ0OTcxNS1zdXByZW1lLWNvdXJ0LXNpZGVzLXdpdGgtaW1taWdyYW50LWluLWd1bi1wb3NzZXNzaW9uLWNhc2XSAXFodHRwczovL3RoZWhpbGwuY29tL3JlZ3VsYXRpb24vY291cnQtYmF0dGxlcy80NDk3MTUtc3VwcmVtZS1jb3VydC1zaWRlcy13aXRoLWltbWlncmFudC1pbi1ndW4tcG9zc2Vzc2lvbi1jYXNlP2FtcA?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US:en
     
  2. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    They had to use a photo of someone firing one of those hyper-evil semiauto assault rifles ..:eek:.. they couldn't have had someone shooting a classic leveraction Winchester?:uhoh: EVERYTHING has to be ASSAULT RIFLE!!!!
    I can see both sides of this, but ultimately I think the court did the right thing.
     
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  3. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

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    A lot of citizens do not realize that a legal immigrant (working in the US on a Green Card, for example) who is not a prohibited person can purchase a firearm. At least in the “free” states. Don’t know about the left & east coasts.
     
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  4. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Now, that almost raises the spectre of "How many laws are too many?"

    Putting the burden on those expected to relay the status of student visas is likely to wind up with as many variations as there are schools. Which will likely not pass 14th Amendment muster.

    Maybe.
    Perhaps.

    7-2 is a pretty convincing suggestion of excess zeal in either prosecution or arrest.
     
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  5. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Until said visa was actually terminated, all privileges under his student visa would still be valid. Seems like an easy decision.
     
  6. the Real Alpo

    the Real Alpo Member

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    So they are saying ignorance of the law IS an excuse?
     
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  7. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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    "As we have said, we normally presume that Congress did not intend to impose criminal liability on persons who, due to lack of knowledge, did not have a wrongful mental state."

    Makes sense to me.


    "The Government also argues that whether an alien is “illegally or unlawfully in the United States” is a question of law, not fact, and thus appeals to the well-known maxim that “ignorance of the law” (or a “mistake of law”) is no excuse. This maxim, however, normally applies where a defendant has the requisite mental state in respect to the elements of the crime but claims to be “unaware of the existence of a statute proscribing his conduct.” In contrast, the maxim does not normally apply where a defendant “has a mistaken impression concerning the legal effect of some collateral matter and that mistake results in his misunderstanding the full significance of his conduct,” thereby negating an element of the offense."

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/17-9560_e2p3.pdf
     
  8. Aim1

    Aim1 Member

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    That’s what I was wondering.
     
  9. LRDGCO

    LRDGCO Member

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    I have always been of the understanding that ignorance of the law is no defense, so this is perplexing.

    "But Your Honor, I was not aware of this so-called 'bank robbery' law. I was simply making an undocumented withdrawal. "
     
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  10. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Seems like a waste of time and money to go after this guy. Since he committed a non-violent victimless crime why didn't they just deport him and permanently ban him from ever entering the country?
     
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  11. unclenunzie

    unclenunzie Member

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    For my part, having lived most of my life in the right coast state of NJ, I know of no distinction ever made if a person is legally a resident. They made it hard on everyone (not objectively disqualified) but without discrimination.

    A green card holder has every right on us soil except the franchise or to participate as a juror. As far as I know.
     
  12. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    This was a 7-2 decision.

    The case seems to balance on two conflicting things. One was that the man was expelled from school and therefore his student visa was ka-putt. Which meant he was in the U.S. illegally or soon would be once the papers were processed or appeals exhausted, whatever. Legally it also meant he could not own a gun which he had bought legally and went out to shoot at a range with legally. Or at least till he was expelled from school.

    The article doesn't say how long a period of time passed from when he was expelled from school and when he was arrested. Or if he was appealing his loss of the visa. Or if he knew he lost the visa and all that that meant.

    For 7 of the 9 judges it was important that he was not robbing a bank or liqueur store or robbing folks in the street. He was going to the shooting range, a legal activity for him, with a legal gun, up till that point. The 7 also held that the truism "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" was not meant to hold for people who were not committing an obvious crime, or planned to commit an obvious crime, or did violence or injury to others, or were not aware that their legal status had changed and what that meant. So if the prosecution could not prove he was aware that owning a gun was illegal that axiom did not hold. The prosecution had no proof of that. Neither was a violent or serious crime committed.

    For the other 2 judges (Alito and Thomas) what was important was that was the possible precedents that could be set by this case and effect people in prison who had committed violent and other serious crimes.

    I wonder if this fella comes from a rich Saudi family.
     
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  13. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    As a former Governmint Secket Agent I can tell you for certain that if it isn't in writing it never happened. So even if he was verbally told his immigration status would change as a result of dropping out of college until he was served with the proper paperwork I agree with him believing his status was still legal.
     
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  14. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    I do not want judges making decisions with this kind of outcome - no sir - that is until I am before a judge for breaking a law, then I want a judicial panel just like this one - I want it both ways so that no mater what happens, I will always be right - what a great Country!
     
  15. tark

    tark Member

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    AMEN to that. What ever happened to "ignorance of the law is no defense against the law ?"
     
  16. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    See post #12, it includes a great explanation!
     
  17. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Check the language in Goosey's comment (#9) or th eexplanation at Post 12.

    The Court is asserting not that the defendant was ignorant of the law; but that he was ignorant of the when the law applied. And, that nothing in that law clarified the timing, so there was no way for the defendant to rectify that ignorance.

    Now, the next thing that wants sorting out, is who, precisely, is to tell those on visas, that their visa status has changed; and what consequences result thereby.

    Which is going to be linked to how there is no master list of visas wit ha rack of countdown clocks ticking off the remaining time, so that some person can call the visa carrier and say, "Hey, you have nn hours remaining on your visa better do something."
     
  18. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Being ignorant gives you more rights. Might want to stop being involved online or showing knowledge of firearm rules and laws
     
  19. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Because we are being prevented from doing that across the nation, more so in some states.
    So they have to go after them for an actual crime so they are double illegal. Just illegal is not enough, you gotta be double or triple illegal, with crimes beyond just illegally being in the nation before immigration can be enforced.
     
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