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Schrader v. Holder

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
704 F.3d 980 (2013)


Jefferson Wayne Schrader and the Second Amendment Foundation (plaintiffs) sued Attorney General Eric Holder to invalidate 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) on the grounds that the statute unconstitutionally imposed a lifelong ban on Schrader's ability to possess firearms. The 1968 statute applied to anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor punishable by more than one year's imprisonment. Section § 921(a)(20) of title 18 made § 922(g)(1) inapplicable to anyone found guilty of a state-law misdemeanor, but only if the misdemeanor was punishable by no more than two years' imprisonment. Forty years earlier, a Maryland state court convicted Schrader of misdemeanor assault. As a common-law crime, there was no statutory maximum penalty for Schrader's offense, and theoretically the judge could have sent Schrader to prison for more than two years. Schrader's sentence did not involve imprisonment, and he went on to join the Navy and serve honorably in Vietnam. Except for a single minor traffic violation, Schrader never again broke the law. The federal district court dismissed the case. Schrader and the Foundation appealed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Tatel, J.)

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