- A case challenging the constitutionality of federal restrictions on non-violent felons possessing ammunition is under consideration by the Supreme Court.
- The case questions whether Congress can criminalize interstate possession of ammunition by individuals.
- The plaintiff, Mr. Seekins, was charged with possession of two shotgun shells found in a dumpster.
- The government made no effort to prove that Mr. Seekins had stolen, bought, or planned to sell the shotgun shells.
- Mr. Seekins seeks to appeal the 70-month sentence he received under federal law.
- The case invokes the Commerce Clause and the Supreme Court's previous ruling on United States v. Lopez.
- The Court's decision on whether to grant review to the case will be made in a conference on June 22nd.
The Supreme Court is currently considering a case challenging the constitutionality of federal restrictions on non-violent felons possessing ammunition. The case revolves around the question of whether Congress has the authority to criminalize interstate possession of ammunition. The plaintiff in the case, Mr. Seekins, was charged with possession of two shotgun shells found in a dumpster. This article provides a detailed analysis of the case and its potential implications.
Background of the Case: Mr. Seekins, a homeless individual, was arrested on suspicion of stealing a U-Haul in Texas. When the police searched the U-Haul, they discovered various items, including an orange 12-gauge shotgun shell and a flare launcher. The officers initially identified the shell as a flare gun shell and paid little attention to it. Mr. Seekins claimed that he found the shell in a dumpster. He was initially charged with possession of a firearm but later had the charge changed to being a felon in possession of ammunition. The government made no effort to prove that Mr. Seekins had engaged in any commercial transactions involving the shotgun shells or that he had moved them across state lines.
Legal Arguments: The lawsuit filed by Mr. Seekins challenges the constitutionality of the federal law, specifically questioning whether it is valid under the Commerce Clause. Section 922(g)(1) of the law makes it a federal crime for anyone previously convicted of a felony to possess, in or affecting interstate commerce, any firearm or ammunition. Mr. Seekins argues that the unique circumstances of his case, involving just two shotgun shells found in a dumpster, highlight the purely intrastate nature of the offense. He emphasizes that there is no evident commercial nexus to interstate commerce, which is a requirement for Congress to regulate under the Commerce Clause.
Relevance of United States v. Lopez: The case invokes the landmark Supreme Court decision in United States v. Lopez (1995), where the Court struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. In that case, Alfonso Lopez challenged his conviction for carrying a concealed weapon into his high school, arguing that the law exceeded Congress's powers under the Commerce Clause. The Supreme Court agreed with Lopez, stating that Congress could only regulate conduct that substantially affects interstate commerce or has another evident commercial nexus to interstate commerce. The case brought by Mr. Seekins seeks to build upon the language and concerns expressed in the Lopez decision, potentially leading to a reconsideration of the scope of the Commerce Clause.
Implications and Supreme Court Review: The outcome of this case has significant implications for Second Amendment rights without directly challenging the Second Amendment itself. It raises questions about the limits of Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause in regulating firearm-related offenses. The Supreme Court has shown recent interest in revisiting Commerce Clause issues and constraining its use as a justification for imposing restrictions. However, it remains uncertain whether the Court will accept another Second Amendment case after the recent Bruin decision. The Supreme Court conference on June 22nd will determine whether the case is granted review, and an order will be issued the following week.
Conclusion: The Supreme Court's consideration of the case challenging federal restrictions on felons possessing ammunition highlights the ongoing debate over the scope of the Commerce Clause and its relationship to Second Amendment rights. Mr. Seekins's case presents a unique factual situation, emphasizing the intrastate nature of the offense and the potential consequences of applying the law in such cases. The Court's decision on whether to grant review to the case will be eagerly anticipated by those interested in the intersection of constitutional law, Second Amendment rights, and the limits of federal authority.