Denver, CO – February 4, 2021 – Mountain States Legal Foundation’s Center to Keep and Bear Arms (CKBA) is asking the United States Supreme Court to hear the case of Ken Flick, a Georgia resident who is barred for life from possessing a firearm because of a 1987 conviction for importing and reselling bootleg music cassettes.
Flick has led an exemplary life since the conviction. Today he is a successful inventor and a pillar of the community. He fulfilled the terms of his sentence for a nonviolent offence that occurred back when “The Bangles” were topping the charts. But no matter. Federal law – 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) specifically – prohibits an individual from possessing firearms who “has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.”
Flick was sentenced to and served four-and-a-half months in a halfway house, followed by community service and probation, but that the conviction alone was enough to trigger a lifetime prohibition on the exercise of his right to keep and bear arms—an injustice that Flick has been fighting in federal court. CKBA is asking the Supreme Court to reverse this injustice by declaring 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) unconstitutional and vindicating Flick’s Second Amendment protected rights.
The prohibition is not limited to those who commit violent crimes, felonies, or even those who actually serve prison time. The law is so broad that it unconstitutionally prohibits non-violent individuals, like Flick, from possessing firearms, argues Cody J. Wisniewski, Director of MSLF’s Center to Keep and Bear Arms.
“Just as in the other cases the Center to Keep and Bear Arms has highlighted, the federal government has no authority to prohibit nonviolent Americans like Mr. Flick from possessing firearms,” says Wisniewski. “Based on the Second Amendment and Founding Era regulations, the federal government can only prohibit dangerous persons from possessing arms. At the time of our Founding, these were not people like Mr. Flick, who was arrested for importing bootleg cassettes, but instead were people who actively aided the British Empire or engaged in violent insurrection.”
As CKBA’s brief points out, the Second Amendment’s original and authentic meaning does not allow the government to disarm peaceable people based on non-violent offenses and legal technicalities. An analysis of the Amendment’s text, history, and tradition—as required by Supreme Court precedent in the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller—shows the injustice and illegality of what Ken Flick and many others continue to suffer.
The Supreme Court should grant certiorari, writes CKBA, “to ensure that nonviolent felons who are not demonstrably dangerous to their communities are not prohibited from possessing arms for life.”
This is necessary, Wisniewski argues, to uphold the true nature of gun rights—as natural rights of the People, not governmentally granted privileges.
Flick’s case is one of several being presented to the Supreme Court regarding the firearm rights of nonviolent misdemeanants and felons. MSLF’s Center to Keep and Bear Arms also recently filed a similar amicus curiae brief in Folajtar v. Rosen and also joined with the Cato Institute and other like-minded organizations to file an amici curiae brief in Holloway v. Rosen.
Follow this link to read the brief.
Follow this link to read the case summary