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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ind. Decision - 7th Circuit rules in Illinois 2nd amendment case

Thanks to Howard Bashman of How Appealing for catching this decision today from the 7th Circuit - the 4-page opinion, out of Illinois, is U.S. v. Jackson. Judge Easterbrook writes:

[Jackson] contends that he is innocent of the charge [possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense.] because he possessed the guns for his protection—and District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008), holds that the Constitution’s second amendment entitles people to have handguns in the home for self-protection.

The Court said in Heller that the Constitution entitles citizens to keep and bear arms for the purpose of lawful self-protection, not for all self-protection. Jackson was distributing illegal drugs (cocaine and unlicensed dextromethorphan hydrobromide tablets) out of his home. The Constitution does not give anyone the right to be armed while committing a felony, or even to have guns in the next room for emergency use should sup- pliers, customers, or the police threaten a dealer’s stash. Jackson says that he lived in a dangerous neighborhood and wanted to protect himself from burglars and other marauders. That may be so, but his decision to operate an illegal home business also matters. Suppose a federal statute said: “Anyone who chooses to possess a firearm in the home for self-protection is forbidden to keep or distribute illegal drugs there.” Such a statute would be valid, as Jackson’s lawyer conceded. And if Congress may forbid people who possess guns to deal drugs, it may forbid people who deal drugs to possess guns. The state- ments “if you have a gun, you can’t sell cocaine” and “if you sell cocaine, you can’t have a gun” are identical.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 18, 2009 04:16 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions