By: Teresa Mull
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a law barring illegal aliens from possessing guns, ruling in the case of Victor Manuel Torres, an illegal immigrant who argued the law violates his Second Amendment rights.
Torres entered the United States illegally as a child with his family, who sent him back to Mexico after he became involved in a gang in high school.
Torres attempted to re-enter the U.S. several times, finally succeeding in 2005 at the age of 20.
In 2014, Torres was arrested for a different crime and found to be in possession of drugs and a loaded revolver.
"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," SFGate.com reports.
The Bay City News Service reports:
…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."
Circuit Judge N.R. Smith wrote in Tuesday’s ruling that decisions by other federal appeals courts in the nation have had varying reasoning as to "whether aliens unlawfully present in the United States are part of ‘the people’ to whom Second Amendment protections extend."
But even "assuming that unlawful aliens do hold some degree of Second Amendment rights, those rights are not unlimited," Smith wrote.
The court opinion further states unlawful aliens 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."
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at [email protected].