SECOND AMENDMENT WIN: Application of Gun Control Act Shot Down by Federal Appellate Court

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 10.37.45 AMPlacing a gun control act that bans people with ‘mental illnesses’ from purchasing a gun is not the solution to our problems here. This case is proof.

In a groundbreaking opinion examining the Gun Control Act’s categorical prohibition on firearm possession for persons who have been “committed to a mental institution,” the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit determined the Second Amendment prohibited application of the ban to an individual who had been committed 28 years earlier and had no viable option for seeking restoration of his rights.

The case is Tyler v. Hillsdale Co. Sheriff’s Dept.

Clifford Tyler is a 73-year-old man who does not currently suffer from mental illness and has no history of violence, unlawful behavior, or substance abuse. In 1985, when Tyler was 45 years old, his then-wife of 23 years left him for another man, depleted his finances, and filed for divorce.

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Tyler became distraught and suicidal, and he was involuntarily committed by a Michigan probate court, after his daughters called police for fear of his safety. Less than a month later, Tyler was released from the facility and returned to the workforce for nearly two decades.

A psychologist who evaluated Tyler in 2012 determined the 1985 commitment “appeared to be a brief reactive depressive episode in response to his wife divorcing him.”

Unlike other federal appellate courts, the Sixth Circuit evaluated Tyler’s claim under strict scrutiny.

This is the highest level of scrutiny in constitutional law that deals with situations in which the court examines whether the government’s regulation relates to a sufficiently important governmental interest and is sufficiently “tailored” to achieving that interest.

To satisfy strict scrutiny, the government’s interest must be “compelling,” and the regulation must be “narrowly” tailored to achieving it.

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