A Navy veteran can be barred from owning a gun because of a 1968 misdemeanor conviction over a fistfight, a federal appeals court ruled.
A three-judge panel in Washington upheld a lower-court ruling “which found ‘no constitutional impediment’ to including common-law misdemeanants” within the federal firearms ban. The lower court observed that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote in Friday’s opinion.
The federal ban applies to several categories of people, including fugitives, undocumented aliens, those who are judged mentally incompetent or those who have been convicted of felonies or certain kinds of misdemeanors, including ones involving domestic violence.
Jefferson Wayne Schrader, 64, of Cleveland, Ga., sued to challenge the ban in 2010 after a companion tried to buy him a shotgun and Schrader tried to purchase a handgun in two separate transactions.
The assault occurred in Annapolis, Md., while Schrader, then 20, was serving in the Navy and encountered a member of a street gang who had previously assaulted him, according to his complaint.
Schrader punched his assailant and was convicted of common-law assault and battery and fined $100. The court imposed no jail time. Schrader went on to serve a tour of duty in Vietnam and received an honorable discharge. He had no other brushes with the law, except for one traffic violation, he said in his complaint.
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