BELLEVUE, Wash., April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Second Amendment Foundation's challenge to a federal law that prevents American citizens who reside outside the United States from purchasing firearms while they are in this country will be allowed to move forward, under a ruling today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The case involves Stephen Dearth, a natural-born U.S. citizen now living in Canada, who is prevented from buying a firearm in this country because he does not currently reside here. The case was filed in March 2009. SAF and Mr. Dearth challenged the law's constitutionality because it prevents Dearth from exercising his Second Amendment rights. SAF is represented by Virginia attorney Alan Gura.
"This is a significant ruling in our favor," said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. "Many American citizens face the same dilemma as Mr. Dearth. They are good citizens, they've committed no crimes, and they would certainly be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights, except for the fact that they live in another country."
The district court dismissed the case, contending that plaintiffs have no standing. This morning's ruling reverses that court, and remands the case back for further action.
In its ruling, the Appeals Court agreed with Dearth's argument that he suffers an "ongoing injury" because the government continues to deny him the right to purchase a firearm. The court said "we conclude his injury is sufficiently real and immediate to support his standing to challenge those laws."
The issue arises with a question on the Federal Form 4473 which asks firearm buyers their state of residence. Since Dearth does not have a state of residence, he cannot legally complete a firearms transaction. SAF filed the case against Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking to enjoin him from enforcing the law. The lawsuit also contends that the gun law violates Dearth's Fifth Amendment right of equal protection.
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.
SOURCE Second Amendment Foundation