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United States v. Carter

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
750 F.3d 462 (2014)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Benjamin Carter (defendant) for possessing firearms while being an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3). The trial evidence established that Carter allowed police officers to enter his apartment, a suspected center of illegal drug activity. The officers found marijuana, a large sum of cash, and assorted drug paraphernalia. Carter admitted being a long-time marijuana user, and also showed the officers his semi-automatic pistol and revolver, which he said he kept because he lived in a dangerous neighborhood. Carter argued that § 922(g)(3) was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, and moved to dismiss the indictment. The district court judge denied Carter's motion. Carter pleaded guilty on condition that he be allowed to appeal the denial of his motion. The judge accepted the condition, entered judgment, and sentenced Carter, who then appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court vacated the judgment and remanded the case to the district court. On remand, the government justification of § 922(g)(3) as constitutional because it served as an important measure for protecting the community from gun violence. The district court ruled that the government had met its burden of proof and reinstated Carter's conviction. Once again, Carter appealed to the Fourth Circuit.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Niemeyer, J.)

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