Dec 16 (Reuters) – Illegal immigrants do not have a right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, based in Missouri, rejected an appeal brought by Joaquin Bravo Flores, who was charged with possessing a firearm. Agreeing with the 5th Circuit, the court concluded that the protections of the Second Amendment do not extend to undocumented immigrants.
Executing a search warrant in 2010, police uncovered a semi-automatic handgun in Bravo Flores’ Minneapolis apartment. A grand jury indicted him for being an alien in possession of a firearm in violation of federal law. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Bravo Flores tried to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the criminal law barring illegal immigrants from possessing guns is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 recognized an individual right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment. Bravo Flores argued that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” also applied to him and other illegal immigrants.
His lawyer argued in a court filing that Bravo Flores is a member of “the people,” having come to the country as a teenager and now living with his American citizen partner and their two citizen children.
The Supreme Court has previously ruled that undocumented immigrants have constitutional rights in criminal cases, including a Sixth Amendment right to trial and Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.