The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) of Bellevue, Washington, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Attorney General Eric Holder and the FBI over enforcement of a federal statute that can deny gun rights to someone with a misdemeanor on his record.
The SAF is acting on behalf of honorably discharged Vietnam War veteran Jefferson Wayne Schrader of Cleveland, Georgia. Schrader has never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Neither is he a fugitive from justice, nor an unlawful user of any control substance, is not deemed mentally ill or incapacitated, and has never renounced his citizenship,
SAF and Schrader are represented by constitutional attorney Alan Gura, of Gura & Possessky in the D.C. area. Last year, Gura was named one of Washington’s Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 and a Champion of Justice by Legal Times.
In July, 1968, 21-year old Jefferson Wayne Schrader was found guilty of a misdemeanor relating to a fight which broke out between he and a man who had previously assaulted him in Annapolis, MD. The man was part of a street gang that had a few days before violently attacked Schrader for peacefully walking into their alleged territory. In this next dispute, Schrader ended up punching the man.
A police officer arrested Schrader for disorderly conduct and a misdemeanor assault. Schrader paid a $100 fine and $9 court cost.
Schrader at the time was an enlisted man in the Navy, stationed in Annapolis. After the altercation, he finished his tour of duty in Vietnam and was honorably discharged. He has not since had any further police encounters except for one traffic infraction.
Forty+ years later, Mr. Schrader purchased from a local dealer a handgun for personal protection. However, since the National Instant Criminal Background Check showed Schrader had a misdemeanor on his record, he was denied the right to have a gun.
He was later advised by the FBI to dispose of or surrender any firearms he might have or face criminal prosecution.
SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb explained:
“Schrader’s dilemma is that until recently, Maryland law did not set forth a maximum sentence for the crime of misdemeanor assault. Because of that, he is now being treated like a felon and his gun rights have been denied.
“No fair-minded person can tolerate gun control laws being applied this way. Mr. Schrader’s case is a great example of why gun owners cannot trust government bureaucrats to enforce gun laws.”
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” —
–Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment (1764).
Washington Constitution Article I, Section 24: “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
Representative contact information, click here. Yakima’s Doc Hastings, click here.