barry michaels us senate gun rights scotus
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Reader John Dingell III writes:

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear Michaels v. Lynch, a class action lawsuit filed by Barry Michaels, a Nevada Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate seat last year. Mr. Michaels, a convicted felon, was seeking to purchase a firearm for self-defense despite his convictions for non-violent felonies.

As CNBC reports:

Michaels decided to get his act together during a stay in federal prison. Once released, he managed a variety of businesses, including a pizza parlor, and several unsuccessful bids for Congress.

Because of his rising star on the political scene, Michaels has said, he sought a gun for self-defense. But federal law prohibits the possession of firearms by felons. And in 2008, the Supreme Court held that “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons” are presumptively lawful.

Michaels alleged 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1), which makes it a crime punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, for “every” person “who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year… to possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition”, violates the Second Amendment right of people to keep and bear arms.

But Michaels’ attorney used the case to also challenge the legitimacy of the current acting Attorney General.

He asked the court to name the case Barry Michaels v. Rod Rosenstein, rather than Barry Michaels v. Matthew Whitaker. In briefs, Goldstein acknowledged that his argument was unusual but said he saw the issue as urgent.

“Yes, the Court can blink at that reality, decline to act, and move on,” Goldstein wrote in one November brief. “But history will regret that it did.”

The court declined Goldstein’s request to change the name of the case in addition to the underlying 2nd Amendment question.

As a result, the issue in this case became conflated with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General, so SCOTUS’ decision not to hear this case may not indicate their current posture on gun rights in general or rights for felons more specifically.


[ED: We’re still watching for the Court’s cert decision on New York Rifle & Pistol Club v. City of New York. The Court was to have decided whether to hear the case by January 7, but relisted (postponed) the conference. The new conference was to have taken place on Friday the 11th, but again, there was no determination announced today. There’s speculation that the absence of Ruth Bader Ginsburg could be the reason the matter is being pushed back. Watch this space.]

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  1. Guess he’ll just have to hire a armed security team, like the rest of the politicians. Oh, well. TS.

  2. Personally I’m of the belief rights should be restored to felons once their sentence is served. If you can make the argument they’re still not trustworthy with “inalienable” rights then I’ll make the argument they shouldn’t be free to walk the streets. We can either act accordingly or address the elephant in the room….our punitive system doesn’t work.

    I can understand exceptions made for violent crimes, but then I’d also argue that highlights my stance even more so. Crippling a former criminal who’s served his/her time only makes it harder for them to succeed or survive the legally acceptable way.

    • One can argue the merits for banning those convicted of violent felonies from owning guns but it makes ZERO sense to ban someone of a DUI or writing bad checks, etc. from owning guns.

    • Wow! I am about to defy established law, and I have always thought of myself as law abiding. Here’s the deal, Lucille. If I could trust that all the convicted felons were rightfully convicted, and had been adjudicated by a jury of their peers as having committed a felony, I MIGHT revoke their right to bear arms. However, as a former LEO and participant in many court cases, I do not believe that justice has been served. I have come to believe in the ability of many attorneys to sway the judgement against the innocent and in favor of the guilty. Sorry. We have to have a subsequent trial to establish a 2nd Amendment right? It won’t consistently happen in the courts.

    • That’s the way it should be. If you can be trusted to walk the streets, you should have guns, voting rights, personal property, credit, etc.

      If you can’t have guns, you can’t be trusted with anything else. However, this is ultimately the goal. Keep everyone who isn’t deemed well by the State locked up and not voting, then usher in their utopian communistic world.

    • Perhaps, but those are political decisions to be decided by the People via their duly elected representatives, not constitutional matters for some court to decide. In other words: write your Congressman, don’t sue the AG, acting or otherwise.

      • How do you figure, cupcake? The suit is against a FEDERAL LAW, not over a state law or something decided by local legislation.

        • Those Federal LAWS can be overturned by…. The same people who passed them. The ONLY ruling SCOTUS could make that might affect his problem would be to declare the law UNConstitutional. Is that the way to go? I think ALL laws about guns ARE unconstitutional, including the NFC. The intent of the 2nd A was to provide for the Peoples ability to address a Government of TYRANY…. like FORCEING you to BUY Insurance! Or PAY Income TAX. Hmmm

  3. I believe the 2nd Amendment is for all US Citizens. But since the gangster era of the 20’s & 30’s the law made it illegal for a felon to own a gun. This law did nothing to stop criminals from getting guns. To be labeled a felon for the rest of your life is like calling a black man a Nigger and treat them as subhuman!

    These days anybody can be a felon by being in the wrong place at the wrong time or for smoking pot, etc.

    If no one stands up for the felons that have done their time and proved themselves to be good citizens to society then as it gets worse, who will stand up for everyday citizens that never committed a crime!!

    Now I hear if a man or woman has served in the Military they make it illegal for them to own a gun!! Where does this stop?

    We the people all have the right to own and bear arms to not only protect ourselves but our families as well.

    All I can say is pray and God help us all in these later days.

    • Hear! Hear! While we’re at it, all those pedophiles who’ve served their time should be allowed to work on their old jobs as teachers, coaches, and school bus drivers. Just to show your support, let’s go ahead and start with putting them to work at your kid’s school. Are we cool? You know, they’ve paid their debt to society at all.

      • If you support life sentences for every crime, then make your stance loud and proud. The idea of stealth life sentences is merely an attempt to dodge the truth….being happy to have dangerous people freely walking in society while knowing those people are a permanent and unrelenting threat to society, but not wanting to be thought of as cruel.

        State your principles clearly, then stand on them whatever the slings and arrows you suffer.

    • It’s important to have the full picture and all the facts befor making comments like this US Vets with a clinical diagnosis for PTSD in certain states are banned from owning a firearm. The objective is not to deprive the individual of their 2A, but as a harm reduction measure to prevent them from hurting themselves or others. Similar to felons who serve their time, its a balance between harm reduction and deprivation of rights. IMO, if one is to be deprived of their 2A, or any right for that matter, it should be done on a case by case basis as the depervation of ones rights should not be taken lightly. This is why restrictions that are based on an individuals classification as, for example, a felon, are unjusts and controversial. It’s just another lazy method The Man can stick it to the disadvantaged and disenfranchised amongst us. BTW praying to god won’t change anything.

  4. SCOTUS sounds like a disease. We thought possum had mange, then we realized his mind was gone, he couldn’t even make sense reading Shall Not Be Infringed.

    • Too many gun owners have put their faith into two non-gun owning Supreme Court justices appointed by Trump. Kavanaugh rules on precident not necessarily by Founder’s intent (stated by him many times). It is a pipe dream to think that the 2nd Amendment will be restored through the Supreme Court.

      The Heller decision was not great for gun owners unless you lived in Chicago or DC as this case decision has been cited in every state case to uphold state “assault weapons” and “hicap” magazine bans. The Supreme Court only hears a very small fraction of cases and they will not hear a significant case in which they would have to rule in favor of the 2A.

      The USA is Constitutional Republic. However, the communists/socialists/Marxists/RINOs representatives operate our government as a Democracy. As long as they do, 51% of the people/people’s reps can outlaw the freedoms of 49% of the people.

  5. Technically a blackpowder revolver is not a firearm. Neither are muzzle loaders.

    He can always get away with CCWing a Navy 1851

    • They may not be “firearms” but they are still weapons. And carrying a weapon as a felon is still illegal.

        • It depends on the state. Some states don’t consider black powder rifles to be firearms, some do. I believe felons can use a black powder rifle in massachusetts to hunt but in Maine it’s considered a firearm and it’s illegal for them to possess.

        • I do believe some states have some wording to that effect. Antiques are not firearms as far as purchasing. But are still treated as firearms as far as carrying it. Try carrying an 1851 into a courthouse and see how it goes.

          I could be wrong of course.

          Either way he’s a Democrat politician. Fuck him. Sucks when your laws come to bite you in the ass don’t it?

        • Not in all states. Some states do not allow BP guns for felons and some states only allow a felon to hunt with them and if they use one for self defense it’s another crime.

          Anyone who doesn’t believe that felons should have their rights back needs to read “Three Felonies A Day” as with the USA strangled in hundreds of thousands of laws and regulations, the book shows how many average Americans break laws every day and dont even realize it.

          If someone has “done their time” then how can they still do more time? Because if you have no rights then you are still being punished. If you “paid your debt to society” then how can you be forced to keep paying with a loss of rights?

        • “If you “paid your debt to society” then how can you be forced to keep paying with a loss of rights?”

          Take that logic and apply it to property taxes. You don’t own property (real estate), the government does and they let you rent it. Clearly this is so because guess what happens if you don’t pay your property taxes? The consequences are basically the same as not paying the rent on an apartment.

          Now consider the logic that only property owners should be allowed to vote…

    • PDog: that black powder not a firearm is not totally correct, discounting dangerous weapon. Many States classify them as firearms. In this State you are not permitted to own a BB gun having a mv if over 620 fps and a rifled barrel. It is considered a firearm if you’ve a felony conviction. Before someone purchases a firearm, through the mail, (being a felon it can be done) and presume their breaking no law it may be illegal in some States to process it. Check your local laws before making a mistake.

  6. if he did get this overturned, it would just go to show that once again politicians do not play by the same rules we do. so im glad he got denied.

  7. I understand the Justice Ginsberg is keeping up to speed via reading testimony and arguments. If that is sufficient in some cases, why not in regard to the New York case?

      • Perhaps she knows she can’t deny the case being granted cert., but is dragging it out as long as she can?

        It’s been re-listed for conference on the 18th, according to SCOTUS blog…

  8. THIS is the most important part of the article:
    Michaels alleged 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1), which makes it a crime punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, for “every” person “who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one yea

    Guys…ALMOST EVERY FEDERAL GUN LAW is based on one thing……powers that the Congress believes it has under the Commerce Clause. As a matter of fact, probably 90% of the Federal Code..including Obamacare…is based on the same thing. No joke? Do you know why say OSHA has the power it does over say a restaurant? Say the place serves hot dogs. And those hot dogs are served on buns….well those buns were made out of state(or something the restaurant does was)…so BAM…commerce clause.

    This was all based on the Supreme Court case Read all about it. After this point the federal overreach into our lives exploded. By this view of the Commerce Clause there is basically no limit what the Feds think they can do. Every bill from Congress has a part about where they get the power to enact such and such a law….most has to do with this.

    Now back to gun laws…before this the Feds never thought they really had the power to ban guns(at least most in Congress didn’t)….thus the 1934 law only taxed them(another govt power).

    Want to really gut Federal gun laws? Get the Supreme Court to through out this moronic ruling. Take away the abuse of Commerce Clause power and you effectively neuter the Federal Govt in this area. Couple that with strong ruling about the 2nd that would be applied to States(via 14th) and you have gun owners utopia.

  9. That’s the problem with this system. The man made a mistake in his deep dark past, went to prison, paid his debt to society and yet still has to suffer whatever society decides to throw at him. Put politics aside folks. You don’t have to commit a violent act to be charged with a felony. And although I’m sure I would never consider voting for him based on his party affiliation, he paid his debt to society, and made restitution so he should have his rights restored. He’s been living a clean, moral life for many years now, probably cleaner and more law abiding than 50% of legal gun owners in this country. Y’all need to get over your petty little prejudices on this site. It does you and anyone else no good. Especially GOD forbid anyone that looks up to you for guidance.

      • “Prison is punishment. ”

        Are you declaring satisfaction with life-time punishment outside of prison? The proverbial scarlet letter? Are you really comfortable with the ability of government to create a whole ‘nuther set of life sentences, without branding them as such?

        • Can one look past all crimes that hold a sentence less than life? If so, that’s what you’re arguing for. Does the rapist who served time deserve to hold a gun after serving time?

          • “Does the rapist who served time deserve to hold a gun after serving time?”

            If “the people” want life sentences, they should be honest enough to make laws that directly declare life sentences. The idea of restrictions of human rights after serving a directed time in jail is an abomination. Human rights are not only for the “deserving”, they are rights for humans. Barring a declaration that a convicted person is less than human, once an adjudicated sentence is completed, then all rights should be restored. To do otherwise is a combination of shameful life sentencing in stealth mode, and declaration that one must earn human rights. As some put it more succinctly, “If a person requires permanent restriction on their human rights, they are too dangerous to be allowed to walk freely among the populace; i.e. a life sentence behind bars is needed.

            Permitting restrictions on human rights after serving a prison term is merely a disingenuous form of life sentencing which allows us to have what we want (permanent punishment) without feeling bad about ourselves.

            Should a rapist be allowed to own a handgun after serving jail time? Yes. Otherwise, sentence rapists to a life time in jail. Lifetime bans on gun ownership and voting is no different from reasonable restrictions on the Second Amendment; it is just fine so long as your rights are not violated.

  10. FELONS do not have a right to firearms or VOTING, that’s one of the reason LAW ABIDING people don’t break the law.

    • There is no such thing as a law abiding citizen, genius, not with literally thousands of federal laws and even more stage laws. There are honest citizens and dishonest citizens, but there are no law abiding citizens. And if you think you’ve never broken the law then your brain cell must be quite lonely

    • Felons can vote in some states. It’s up to the state. Been that way for a long time.
      The gun ban started as an idea against violent criminals and ended up being blanket ban applied to way too many people.
      At some point incorrect political opinions will get us all banned.

  11. Convicted nonviolent felons should regain their gun rights after they serve their sentence, including any probation, and make restitution to their victims (if any).

    What? Convicted felons don’t make restitution? Then fvck ’em.

  12. Sounds like the reason he lost is because “orange man bad.” Shame because he should regain his rights, and a Democrat who likes guns and fights for gun rights is interesting.

    But, “orange man bad.”

  13. A felon can’t have a gun. But a felon can vote,,, I don’t know which one is more dangerous , ,,,

    • You are in a dream world. Unless you have millions of dollars and big political connections or if you are a leftist terrorist and a Clinton or Obama pardons you, there is little hope in executive clemency.

      There was a program whereby felons could get tbeir gun rights back but although but still exists, Congress defunded It in 1992 so ATF is forbidden to process the applications. $hithead Schumer was responsible for that.

      • You don’t know what your talking about. That’s ok, most people are unfamiliar with be process. For starters you don’t need millions of dollars or have to play golf with Clinton. In fact those cases are far more difficult to work.

        Do a little research or better yet talk to someone who received a pardon to find out how it works.

  14. The ‘One size fits all’ law pertaining to firearms ownership is one of the most unjust that the anti-gunners have passed. Are people even aware of the MINOR infractions that can result in more than a year in prison? For instance, not paying alimony in Maryland. Drag Racing(Speed Contest) in Pennsylvania. Although most of the time they get probation, it is still a conviction. And the perpetrator is now labeled a felon. I’m sure there are many more such ‘crimes’ written as law in this country. Really UNFAIR and unbalanced.

  15. Wow, that last bit really screwed him. If he didn’t order it (knowing Democrats it’s possible), he has an airtight case to argue ineffective assistance of counsel.

  16. I don’t think felons should be able to own guns. I grew up with a lot of shitheads that were in and out of jail and prison their whole life. They just did their time and then they were free, right back to selling dope and hitting robberies. Prison doesn’t make people “reformed” it just makes them stronger and smarter (when I say “smarter” I mean they learn how to not get caught).

    Of course not everyone stays a shitbird after prison, but about 8 out of 10 never change.

    • Could not agree more with you on that one.

      That said, I want to keep that door open for the few who do redeem themselves. Restoring full rights of citizenship should not be a given and should not be easy. Should be a defined process of law, never an automatic thing. There should be standards, proof of living a life like a decent member of society. It should take time and effort. Not forever, but long enough to show a track record.

      • All felonies, violent or not, should be life sentences. Prisoners represent a large storage vault of body parts that could be harvested while prisoners remain alive. Prisoners could be given a choice between life and execution (either way, body parts could be harvested).
        he punishment could be scaled such that a list of crimes has attached a list of body parts that could be forfeited while the prisoner serves the life sentence. At death, the body parts would be harvested. Such a scheme would put meaning into the term, “paying a debt to society.”

  17. To pound the same nail with a heavier hammer….

    “And in 2008, the Supreme Court held that “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons” are presumptively lawful.”

    This, my friends, is also known as “precedent”, or more recently, “history and tradition”.

    Manage your expectations carefully.

  18. OK folks, at the risk of getting slammed. this is not the time to fight a battle over when and how felons should have their firearms rights restored. We have MUCH bigger fish to fry first……….

  19. On the lawsuit status page of my website I keep a list of links to cert petitions of interest. The latest to be denied today was:

    Barry Michaels v. Matthew G. Whitaker, Acting Attorney General, et al. – Cert Filed June 27, 2018 (challenge to Federal ban on felon in possession of firearms – as applied challenge). – Cert denied January 14, 2019.

    The questions presented are as follows:
    1. What does the phrase “law-abiding, responsible citizens” mean?

    It would seem to mean that felons aren’t.

    2. What does it mean to say that “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons” are “presumptively lawful regulatory measures?”

    It means exactly what it says.

    This cert petition shows two examples in how not to word questions. It is also another in a long line of cert petitions which have questioned Section III of the Heller decision which listed those “regulations” which are permissible under the Second Amendment such as prohibitions on concealed carry and prohibitions on possession by felons and the mentally ill.

  20. The consequences of felonious behavior should be better taught in schools. Used to be taught by parents, but many boomers and millennials aren’t real conscientious that regard. I fact, there are lots of areas of ignorance amongst today’s youths.

  21. I thought Democrats did not believe in firearms for personal protection. They tell us all the time we don’t need em

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