Title 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) imposes a disability prohibiting the ownership and possession of firearms on individuals who have been previously involuntarily committed. Because of an inconsistent patchwork of state and federal laws, relief from this disability, or restoration of an individual’s fundamental right to own or possess firearms, is not available to all people. In effect, some individuals who have been previously involuntarily committed face a lifetime ban, while other similarly situated people can own or possess firearms once again. This issue has created a circuit split between the Third, Sixth, and Ninth Circuits. Despite applying the same constitutional analysis to the issue and similar facts, all three circuits reached different results. The Sixth Circuit found an individual who had been previously involuntarily committed many years prior had a Second Amendment claim to challenge the firearm disability prohibiting firearm ownership. This Note asserts the Sixth Circuit’s analysis is most persuasive because it properly applies intermediate scrutiny, it is consistent with the current understanding of Second Amendment rights and related legislative history, it fairly considers the rights of those with a history of mental illness rather than continues the stigmatization of mental illness, and it effectively balances the rights of those previously involuntarily committed with the compelling government interests of general public safety.
Bennett E. Kuhar,
Restoration of Second Amendment Rights from a Lifetime Ban Imposed by 18 U.S.C. § 922(G)(4): The Sixth Circuit Provides a Path Forward,
70 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol70/iss3/8