Hunter Biden Could Be Next Poster Child for Second Amendment Rights?

The Biden Administration is facing a potentially headlinegrabbing legal showdown in the wake of last year‘s Supreme Court decision, one that could draw Hunter Biden into a fight involving the Second Amendment.

The president‘s son has been the target of a Justice Department investigation into his purchase of a gun in 2018, while he has admitted he was using crack cocaine at the time. Federal law bans drug users from owning guns, yet many of these restrictions are now in flux in the aftermath of a landmark Supreme Court decision almost a year ago.

Some of Hunter Biden‘s attorneys have reportedly shared privately with Justice Department officials that their client will challenge the law, should he be charged with the crime, by arguing it violates the Second Amendment.

This case would put the gun rights debate at the center of national attention, even as the administration is fighting to pass gun reform legislation.

For those typically critical of the Biden family, this could put them in unusual alignment with Hunter Biden.

At the heart of the gun debate is the Gun Control Act of 1968, which states that unlawful drug users cannot possess firearms. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, this applies to people who have used drugs in the 12 months prior to buying a gun, and can be punished with up to 15 years in prison.

But the Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen created a new constitutional standard for gun regulations. The court‘s conservative majority found that contemporary restrictions must be consistent with those of the founding era. This shift now leaves more room for interpretations and loosens previously unassailable bans on gun ownership.

In the wake of Bruen, many judges have upheld the drugusers prohibition, but several have ruled against it. Last June, a federal district judge in Utah argued that the statute was unconstitutional due to its vagueness. In April, a district judge in Texas also struck down the ban, noting that it did not fit with the Second Amendment or with America‘s ageold traditions of gun regulation.

In Harris v. The United States, the debate was taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which oversees Delaware, where prosecutors are expected to finalize the investigation into Hunter Biden soon. The Third Circuit is also currently reviewing Range v. Attorney General, which challenges the law that forbids felons from owning firearms. A outcome from the panel on Harris v. The United States could be delayed until the Range case is resolved.

Second Amendment advocates have not yet reached a consensus regarding the law that targets drug users, and those organizations that exist in support of preserving gun rights have taken varying stances.

Given the upheaval and conflicting rulings in this realm, there is a good chance that this dispute could eventually make its way to the Supreme Court. Some analysts predict Justice Samuel Alito could be ambivalent in this situation as he tends to favor both gun rights and strong law enforcement.

Whatever the outcome, this could end up being an important test of how much regulation governments can enforce on gun access.


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