A federal court has made a decision on the ability of illegal immigrants to carry firearms.
Guns.com reported on the story.
The panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit upheld the conviction of Mexican national Victor Manuel Torres, 33, for possessing a firearm while “being an alien . . . illegally or unlawfully in the United States.” Long codified under federal law, those in the country illegally are prohibited firearms possessors, which Torres challenged on constitutional grounds. The judges, a mix of appointments from both Democrat and Republican administrations, were not moved by his argument.
“In sum, the government’s interests in controlling crime and ensuring public safety are promoted by keeping firearms out of the hands of unlawful aliens—who are subject to removal, are difficult to monitor due to an inherent incentive to falsify information and evade law enforcement, and have already shown they are unable or unwilling to conform their conduct to the laws of this country,” said Judge N.Randy Smith, for the majority. Smith, an appointment by President George W. Bush, was joined in the ruling by Judges Sidney R. Thomas and Sharon L. Gleason, who were appointed by Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively.
Torres, who was born in Mexico, crossed the border illegally as a child with his parents and attended school in the San Jose area. After expulsion from high school as a teenager due to gang activity, his parents sent him back to Mexico to live. Illegally crossing the border again as an adult in 2005, he worked with his father in landscaping and married a U.S. citizen in San Jose but did not become a citizen. Questioned by police in a parking lot while attempting to sell a stolen bicycle in 2014, officers found a backpack in his truck that contained a loaded .22-caliber handgun, bolt cutters, and what appeared to be two homemade silencers.
CBS San Francisco added to the story.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Tuesday upheld a U.S. law that makes it a crime for people who are illegally in the United States to possess a gun.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of a San Jose man, Victor Manuel Torres, who entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico in 2005 at the age of 20.
Torres had previously come to San Jose with his mother as a child, but was sent back to Mexico by his family after he was expelled from school in San Jose because of gang activity.
In 2014, he was found to have a loaded revolver in his backpack after he was arrested in Los Gatos on suspicion of trying to sell a stolen bicycle. Torres was convicted in federal court in San Jose and sentenced to two years and three months in prison for being an illegal immigrant in possession of gun.
In his appeal, Torres claimed the federal law violated his constitutional Second Amendment right to possess firearms.
But the appeals court said that while it is unclear whether undocumented immigrants have Second Amendment rights, the law banning gun possession by that group is “a valid exercise of Congress’s authority.”
A three-judge panel unanimously said, “The government’s interests in controlling crime and ensuring public safety are promoted by keeping firearms out of the hands of unlawful aliens.”