Gun ban for committed people violated Second Amendment rights of Michigan man, 6th Circuit rules
A federal ban on gun ownership for people who were committed to mental institutions is unconstitutional as applied to a Michigan man, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.
The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals said the law violated the Second Amendment rights of 73-year-old Clifford Charles Tyler, report the Wall Street Journal and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
Tyler is unable to buy a gun because he was committed to a mental institution for less than a month in 1986 after an emotionally devastating divorce from his wife of 23 years, who allegedly ran away with another man and depleted Tyler’s finances, the 6th Circuit decision (PDF) said.
Federal law allows people such as Tyler to prove the “disability” that precludes gun ownership no longer applies, but Congress ended funding for the program in favor of grants to states to carry it out. Michigan does not participate in the program.
“Whether Tyler may exercise his right to bear arms depends on whether his state of residence has chosen to accept the carrot of federal grant money and has implemented a relief program,” the 6th Circuit said. “An individual’s ability to exercise a fundamental right necessary to our system of ordered liberty cannot turn on such a distinction.”