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GUN LAWS AND IMMIGRANTS

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Article 16-52

¡No Se Deje!

Gun ownership, possession and use are regulated by Federal laws and the laws of each state.  The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the Constitutional right of persons to own guns and the rights of states to regulate their possession and use.  The Solicitor General of the United States explained that the legal position of the Federal government is to “prevent possession of guns by unfit persons and to restrict possession of types of firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse.” Preventing unfit persons from owning guns is much different than making it a crime for anyone to own a gun.

 

The categories of people prohibited from owning guns have a rational basis for considering them unfit.  The list of prohibited persons in California includes:

 

  • Anyone convicted of a felony in California, or in any other state or country;
  • Anyone convicted of one of the specified gun misuse or violent crimes laws whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor;
  • Drug addicts and those convicted of specified crimes related to threatening public officers, or witnesses to a crime and minor (less than 18 years old);
  • Anyone who willfully violates a court order issued to prevent domestic violence.

 

Everyone in these categories, including U. S. citizens, is prohibited from possessing, owning, transporting or using a gun.

 

FEDERAL LAW MAKES IT ILLEGAL FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

(Referred to as “illegal aliens”) TO OWN, POSSESS OR USE FIREARMS.

 

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 makes it a felony with a 10 year prison sentence for “illegal Aliens” to own or possess a gun.  Unlike the other categories of persons prohibited from possessing guns, the law forbids ALL undocumented immigrants from owning or possessing guns, even those that have never committed any of the listed crimes.  Legal experts have criticized the law because the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are law abiding people whose only transgression is entering the country without authorization.  They point out that this in no way makes them more likely to use a gun to commit a crime, as is the case for people in the other categories.  Furthermore, it puts innocent, law abiding undocumented immigrants at an unfair disadvantage when defending their homes and families from real criminal intruders.

 

While U. S. citizens can be sent to prison for violating gun laws, lawfully admitted permanent residents and undocumented immigrants can be deported after serving their prison sentences.  Non-immigrants, those with limited purpose visas like students or tourists, are also prohibited from owning or possessing guns. They may apply for special permits under certain circumstances if supported by their native countries and if they are not in any class of prohibited persons.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.