6th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that an Involuntary Commitment is Insufficient for Stripping One of His/Her 2nd Amendment Rights

In a decision issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, the court found that it was unconstitutional to strip an individual of his 2nd Amendment rights when he had been involuntarily committed for less than a month after a devastating divorce some 28 years ago.

This is a major victory for 2nd Amendment litigation, as the 6th Circuit also found that strict scrutiny applies. These same issues I raised regarding Pennsylvania’s Mental Health and Procedures Act (MHPA) before the Superior Court in Keyes, but which the Superior Court rejected. This now provides support for invalidating state and federal firearm disabilities in the Commonwealth, as a result of an isolated involuntary mental health commitment.

If you are prohibited because of a mental health commitment and wish to discuss your options, contact us today by email or phone – 888-313-0416!

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4 Comments

Filed under ATF, Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

4 responses to “6th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that an Involuntary Commitment is Insufficient for Stripping One of His/Her 2nd Amendment Rights

  1. Ben

    Can you elaborate on the implications of strict scrutiny being applied? Does that application have implications outside the 6th circuit?

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    • There are, generally, three levels of review/scrutiny: rational, intermediate/heightened and strict. Under rational, the Government almost always wins, because the law only need be rationally related to a government interest. However, the Supreme Court in Heller did declare that rational scrutiny was not appropriate. Strict scrutiny is generally applied to all fundamental rights; however, the US Supreme Court has yet to declare that strict scrutiny is the appropriate level of review in the context of the 2nd Amendment. Generally speaking, under strict scrutiny, most laws are found unconstitutional, if challenged, as the analysis focuses on whether the challenged law furthers “a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.” Hence, many anti-gun entities have tried arguing that the 2nd Amendment level of review should be heightened scrutiny, because the analysis focuses on whether the challenged law is “substantially related to an important governmental objective.”

      Although this decision is not binding on courts outside of the 6th Circuit, it is very persuasive and sets the stage for a circuit split, requiring the US Supreme Court to decide the appropriate level of review.

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