On Monday, a unanimous Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that felons denied the right to keep and bear arms do maintain the right to sell those guns after their conviction.
According to the AP, the matter came to the SCOTUS’s attention via former U.S. Border Patrol agent Tony Henderson, who turned his gun collection over to the FBI during an marijuana investigation. Henderson did this under the presumption that he would be able to sell the guns even if convicted.
Henderson pleaded guilty to marijuana distribution and thereafter “wanted to sell the weapons valued at more than $3,500 to a friend, or transfer them to his wife.” Lower courts refused to allow the sale, expressing concern that the wife or friend might simply pass the guns back to Henderson. But the Supreme Court ruled that Henderson should be allowed to sell the guns or turn them over to a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder who could sell the guns for Henderson, and give him the proceeds.
The NRA supported Henderson’s suit and argued that barring Henderson from selling his guns actually “prevents law-abiding citizens who want to buy the guns from doing so.”
The SCOTUS differentiated between being able to sell the guns and being able to possess them. In the majority opinion, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that “the government’s reading of the law goes too far in saying Henderson would illegally ‘possess’ the weapons just by being allowed to sell them.”
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