Obama-Appointed Judge Decrees Illegal Aliens Can Now Pack Heat

Jub-Job / shutterstock.com
Jub-Job / shutterstock.com

In a recent development in Illinois, a judge made a significant decision by dismissing gun charges against an undocumented immigrant, sparking renewed discussions on Second Amendment rights. The ruling suggested that the immigrant had been unfairly banned from owning firearms, according to the court’s interpretation. This decision has reignited debates surrounding the rights of undocumented individuals in relation to gun ownership, raising questions about the broader implications for Second Amendment jurisprudence.

Judge Sharon Coleman, an Obama-era appointee, ruled in favor of Heriberto Carbajal-Flores, an undocumented immigrant caught with a handgun in Chicago’s Little Village on June 1, 2020. Citing precedents from lower courts, Coleman’s ruling highlighted that Carbajal-Flores, with no history of weapon misuse and a non-violent arrest, didn’t pose a public safety threat that would justify stripping him of his right to bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment.

Carbajal-Flores was charged under Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code, which prohibits undocumented individuals from possessing or receiving firearms and ammunition transported in interstate or foreign commerce. Carbajal-Flores defended his possession as a means of self-defense and property protection amid the 2020 civil unrest. Notably, he had no felony, violent crime, or weapon-related crime convictions.

Throughout his legal proceedings, Carbajal-Flores, who is gainfully employed and has complied with all release conditions without new arrests or warrants, had his dismissal requests denied twice before this latest ruling. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman granted the third motion to dismiss, based on a March 8 ruling by the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court.

In their latest dismissal motion, Mr. Carbajal-Flores’s defense team contended that the prosecution failed to prove that the contested law aligns with the historical traditions that define the limits of the right to bear arms.

In 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects conduct covered by its plain text. The U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. et al. v. Bruen, invalidated a century-old New York law that infringed upon Second Amendment rights. This law mandated individuals to prove “proper cause” for obtaining a firearm license outside their residences.

Justice Clarence Thomas emphasized that the government must align its regulations with the nation’s historical firearm regulation tradition when the Second Amendment’s text covers the conduct.

The legal team for Carbajal-Flores referenced multiple judicial decisions based on the interpretation of the Supreme Court’s verdict, notably an appellate court decision that found revoking the gun rights of an individual convicted of a non-violent offense to be unconstitutional.

The government contested the motion, pointing out that the decisions referenced by the defense did not extend to undocumented immigrants and that the defendant overlooked other relevant rulings, such as a 2023 decision determining that Second Amendment rights do not extend to undocumented immigrants. The government further cited examples of statutes that restrict gun possession among certain groups, specifically those considered a threat to social order due to their unreliable compliance with the law.

However, Judge Coleman sided with the defendant, observing that the statutes targeting untrustworthy individuals included exemptions for non-violent loyalty oath-takers. Judge Coleman declared in her eight-page decision that the statute governing noncitizen possession of firearms, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5), infringes upon the Second Amendment rights when applied to Carbajal-Flores, leading to the approval of Carbajal-Flores’ request for case dismissal.

The decision has significant implications that could extend beyond what was initially anticipated. One such consequence is the possibility of granting illegal immigrants the right to possess firearms without any verifications regarding their identities or criminal history in their previous country. This could lead to a range of concerning outcomes, including the potential for an increase in gun-related violence and more illegal guns on the streets.