LAWYER: ‘The Framers were clear: If they meant citizens, they would have said citizens…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) An illegal alien arrested for unlawfully firing a gun is arguing he is entitled to the same Second Amendment rights as U.S. citizens.
Javier Perez claims he is being unfairly prosecuted for shooting in the air on the Brooklyn sidewalk to fend off gang rivals in July 2016.
He argued the authors of the Constitution had more than just “citizens” in mind when they drafted the Bill of Rights.
“The Framers were clear: If they meant citizens, they would have said citizens. But they didn’t,” his defense lawyer, Samuel Jacobson, argued in Brooklyn federal court, according to the New York Daily News. “There is no suggestion that there was a concept of ‘illegal alien’ and no suggestion that if you were from a foreign country, you couldn’t bear arms.”
But federal prosecutors said Perez’s claim is worthless and that the U.S. Constitution does not protect him because he broke the law and illegally entered the country.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Hajjar said Perez is another example of an illegal resident who thinks they’re above the law.
“Those who don’t have legal status here have an interest in defying law enforcement. They have an interest in not maintaining a stable residence or registering a firearm,” she argued in court.
Hajjar also argued that three circuit courts have rejected similar arguments to Perez’s and two federal appeals courts have upheld the New York statue by saying it has reasonable public safety goals.
Because the Supreme Court hasn’t explicitly addressed the issue of gun rights for noncitizens, this case could move forward.
And one law professor thinks Perez might have a chance.
Pratheepan Gulasekaram, a professor at Santa Clara University, told the Daily Newsthat it’s gotten “harder” to deny illegals privileges — even though they’ve already broken the law.
“The more one believes the Second Amendment is an individual right of self-defense, the harder it gets to say noncitizens are categorically not protected,” Gulasekaram said. “Any statute that makes firearms rights depend purely on immigrant status is constitutionally vulnerable.”
If found guilty, Perez faces up to 10 years in prison and deportation.