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Firearms Policy Coalition Files for Supreme Court Cert in Folajtar v. Barr Gun Rights Restoration Case

fpc firearms policy coalition

Earlier this week, TTAG legal advisor LKB wrote about two promising cases that appeared headed toward the Supreme Court. One of those cases is Folajtar v. Barr, in which Lisa Folajtar is trying to regain her gun rights after pleading guilty to lying on a tax return in 2011, a non-violent felony. Now comes news via the Firearms Policy Coalition that Ms. Folajtar’s attorneys have filed for a writ of certiorari asking the High Court to review the Third Circuit’s decision.

Here’s the FPC’s press release:

Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of a petition seeking a writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to review the Third Circuit’s decision in Lisa Folajtar v. Attorney General Barr. A copy of the petition can be viewed at gunbancase.com.

Ms. Folajtar is represented by David H. Thompson, Pete Patterson, and Steven Lindsay of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, Joshua Prince of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., FPC Director of Legal Strategy Adam Kraut, and FPC Director of Research Joseph Greenlee, who authored the authoritative article on the history of arms prohibitions based upon his original research, also available at gunbancase.com. The Foljatar case was recently discussed in multiple major news outlets, including an article by New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak, “Justice Barrett’s Vote Could Tilt the Supreme Court on Gun Rights,” and a Fox News editorial by law professor Jonathan Turley, “Gun-rights case tailor made for Justice Barrett, Supreme Court. Here’s why.”

Nearly a decade ago, Ms. Folajtar was convicted of a nonviolent felony and has been law-abiding ever since, but federal law nevertheless prohibits her from possessing a firearm for the rest of her life. In 2018, Ms. Folajtar filed an as-applied Second Amendment challenge to the lifetime ban in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania District Court. The Court ultimately ruled against her for ahistorical reasons, and that decision was affirmed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where, over a powerful 28-page dissent by Judge Bibas, the panel majority upheld the ban on Folajtar.

The panel majority departed from the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller opinion by ignoring the text of the Constitution as well as the history and tradition that informs its original public meaning. Instead, the court applied an improper test that allows governments to completely and permanently disarm people if they lack “virtue.” Ms. Folajtar’s petition argues that the Court should hear the case because the lifelong ban violates Folajtar’s Second Amendment rights, and to further clarify the field of Second Amendment law.

“The courts would never countenance an attempt by the government to permanently bar Ms. Folajtar from exercising her fundamental rights to free speech and free exercise of religion merely because she at one time was convicted of a nonviolent felony,” explained Supreme Court counsel of record, David H. Thompson of Cooper & Kirk, who recently argued before the High Court for the petitioners in Collins v. Mnuchin.

“Yet the Third Circuit held that the government can forever strip Ms. Folajtar of her fundamental right to possess firearms for self-defense based on a one-time conviction of a tax offense. As Judge Bibas explained in dissent—and as Justice Barrett explained in a similar case when on the Seventh Circuit—such a punishment has no connection whatsoever to the historical justification for limiting the Second Amendment rights of certain individuals: dangerousness. It therefore is unconstitutional, and we hope the Supreme Court agrees to hear this case and confirm that the government has no basis for depriving nondangerous individuals of their Second Amendment rights.”

“The Government’s argument that a person’s inalienable right to keep and bear arms can be denied in perpetuity as a result of a single non-violent felony conviction is neither supported by the text of the Constitution nor the history and original public meaning of the Second Amendment,” said attorney Joshua Prince. “As Judge Bibas makes clear in his dissent, the lifetime, total ban imposed upon Ms. Folajtar, and others like her, is not longstanding and has no connection to any governmental interest.”

“Ms. Folajtar is a law-abiding woman who simply wishes to exercise her natural and fundamental right to self-defense in her home,” commented Adam Kraut. “The Government’s lifetime ban applied to her cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny. And more, there exists a certain irony that the Government strips an individual of their Second Amendment rights for making a false statement on a tax return when our Founders took up arms against the King after refusing to pay taxes.”

“There is no historical precedent in American history for disarming nonviolent persons like Ms. Folajtar,” noted FPC’s Joseph Greenlee. “In fact, some founding-era laws expressly allowed people who mishandled or withheld money owed for taxes to keep their firearms. As Judge Bibas explained in his Third Circuit dissent, historically, individuals were disarmed only if they were dangerous. We hope that the Supreme Court will hear this case and put an end to the unjust and ahistorical prohibitions on nonviolent felons.”

“The Supreme Court should grant review in this case to right an outrageous injustice that affects millions of non-violent individuals and clearly establish the proper test for lower courts to apply in Second Amendment challenges,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Ms. Folajtar’s petition, lead by the outstanding counsel of Cooper & Kirk, presents an ideal vehicle for the Court to address these important issues in 2021, including many other cert. petitions already filed and that will be submitted this term.”

FPC recently filed another petition for cert. in a similar case, Holloway v. Barr. The petitioner, Raymond Holloway, is represented by FPC Director of Research Joseph Greenlee, Supreme Court counsel Erik Jaffe, Joshua Prince of Prince Law Offices, and FPC Director of Legal Strategy Adam Kraut.

Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates for the right to keep and bear arms and adjacent issues, having recently filed several major federal Second Amendment lawsuits including challenges to the State of Maryland’s ban on “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh), the State of Pennsylvania’s and Allegheny County’s carry restrictions (Cowey v. Mullen), Philadelphia’s Gun Permit Unit policies and practices (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and others, with many more cases being prepared today.

To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on InstagramTwitterFacebookYouTube.

 

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, and other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.

comments

  1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    FPC,SAF,GOA for the win,Negotiating Rights Away will swoop in after the win they had no part in and claim credit.

    1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      Is the NRA still a thing? They were completely AWOL this election year.

  2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    If the United States Supreme Court does hear this case, I imagine the outcome will boil down to whether the court has 9 Justices or 13 Justices.

    1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      I don’t think we can trust the existing Court to defend the 2nd Amendment.

  3. avatar Debbie W. says:

    Denying such people there 2A Right is backdoor Gun Control…Fortunately for her an individual on her defense team has vast knowledge of the racist history of Gun Control and hopefully will present it on her behalf…
    What else other than the residue of an agenda rooted in racism and genocide would deny someone who is non violent their right to defend their rights?

    1. avatar LKB says:

      Yup:

      “The Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed not to control guns but to control blacks, and inasmuch as a majority of Congress did not want to do the former but were ashamed to show that their goal was the latter, the result was they did neither.”

      This was from the notorious anti-gun book The Saturday Night Special (R. Sherrill, 1972). Sherrill is hardly the only anti-gun writer who recognizes this:

      “The law was part of a wave of laws that were passed in the late 1960s regulating guns, especially to target African-Americans . . . . Including the Gun Control Act of 1968, which adopted new laws prohibiting certain people from owning guns, providing for beefed up licensing and inspections of gun dealers and restricting the importation of cheap Saturday night specials that were popular in some urban communities.”

      Winkler, A., Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        This can help gun rights, but is it kinda narrow? Is there a way a positive decision can be constructed to expand gun rights?

        (I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth here – for years in TTAG I’ve opined the Leftist scum will attack gun rights in the future by making as many things as possible eligible for making someone a prohibited person, like making a careless driving conviction one, for example. After all – If someone cannot be trusted to operate a vehicle safely, they obviously can’t be trusted to own a dangerous gun. (Their logic, not mine.) …

        1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Reduces ability of trumped up charges to take away rights for contrived felonies. Not that it would matter if the established powers go full commie but it could slow the decay and allow a wave of nonviolent offenders becoming gun owners for the good and bad that would entail. Would be great to see property (or compensation) to people who had their firearms seized but I wouldn’t hold my breath there.

  4. avatar Ing says:

    May you win a signal victory, and may we taste the salty tears of the progressives once again.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Geez who hasn’t fudge er cheated on their taxes?!? Even a “sin” of omission…my son committed an exceedingly non-violent felony is a psychotic daze. I would advise this poor gal to arm up anyway ala Antifa/BlackLootersMurder style😡

    1. avatar Miner49er says:

      “Geez who hasn’t fudge er cheated on their taxes?!?”

      Maybe you are right, it’s no big deal.

      So if Hunter Biden is found to have committed tax evasion, no problem right?

      Richard Nixon cheated the taxpayers to the tune of $476,000, never charged for tax evasion.

  6. avatar . says:

    Not going to happen.

  7. avatar Roger J says:

    Uh ya. Great job yesterday SCOTUS. I wonder how you’ll like your job in a year or two with 4 new Justices that neuter you and nullify your precious Constitution. Disenfranchising the cheaters is intolerable and abhorrent but disenfranchising 70+ million Americans who played by the rules is justice. Sorry ladies and gentlemen you no longer have standing.

  8. avatar MAGA says:

    The case is vs Barr????

    WHAT THE HELL WAS TRUMP THINKING WHEN HE PICKED THIS GUY????

    One thing is for sure. Trump is NO friend of the second amendment.

    1. avatar Mark H says:

      Suit is against Barr because he is/was the head of the Justice Department. It’s just how these things work. You can’t sue the Department itself. You sue the Secretary.

  9. avatar Tired of the bs says:

    The scotus is no friend or the right. If 7 of them don’t believe that 1/3 of the states have standing to sue over at least 4 states unconstitutional voting practices we the people are truly fucked. With the atf ramping up their bullshit everyone better hold on it’s going to be a rough ride.

    1. avatar Tired of the bs says:

      PS.. stolen elections have consequences.

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