Texas, United States.- A federal law that bars people accused of felonies from buying firearms is unconstitutional, a Texas federal judge has concluded, relying on a US Supreme Court ruling that significantly expanded gun rights.
District Judge David Counts, appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump, reached the conclusion by dismissing a federal indictment against Jose Gomez Quiroz, who had been charged under the decades-old ban.
Counts cited the June Supreme Court ruling that declared for the first time that the right “to keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects a person who carries a firearm in public to self defense
Counts said that while the high court’s decision did not erase public safety and social concerns about guns, it had “changed the legal landscape.”
“The Second Amendment is not a ‘second class right,'” Counts wrote. “The courts can no longer relativize a constitutional right.”
Quiroz’s attorney and representatives for prosecutor Ashley Hoff, whose office prosecuted the case, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Quiroz had been charged in Texas state court with robbery and later violating bail when he tried in late 2021 to purchase a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol, leading to his federal indictment.
On June 23, a federal jury convicted him of one count of unlawful receipt of a firearm by a defendant and one count of making a false statement during the purchase.
On the same day, the Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority issued its ruling, which struck down New York’s concealed carry law. Quiroz then asked that the case be dismissed, based on the decision.
The Court granted the request, saying that a historical study found “little evidence” that the federal ban “conforms to the historical tradition of this nation.”