Fraternal Order of Police v. United States

173 F.3d 898 (1999)

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Fraternal Order of Police v. United States

United States Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit
173 F.3d 898 (1999)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

In 1996, an amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, which made it a crime for any person convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to possess a firearm. However, it was not a crime for a person convicted of a domestic-violence felony to possess a firearm. Additionally, individuals who had been convicted of a domestic-violence misdemeanor could not possess a government-issued firearm. However, individuals who had been convicted of a misdemeanor not related to domestic violence could possess a government-issued firearm. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (plaintiff) sued the United States (defendant), claiming that the amendment was unconstitutional. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the United States. The decision was appealed. The court of appeals reversed. The court of appeals found that the amendment violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution because there could be no rational basis for forbidding individuals who had been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing firearms but not forbidding individuals who had been convicted of domestic-violence felonies from possessing firearms. However, the court of appeals found that the amendment did not violate the Equal Protection Clause by treating domestic-violence misdemeanants differently from other misdemeanants. The United States petitioned for a rehearing. The petition was granted.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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