Gun owners scored a major victory on May 18th, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that felon Tony Henderson may legally transfer his collection of 19 guns to a third party.
Tony Henderson’s story began in 2006 when the then-U.S. Border Patrol Agent was arrested for distributing marijuana. As a condition of his bail, Henderson had to turn over his collection of 19 firearms to the FBI for “safe keeping.”
Henderson was convicted and sentenced to a brief prison stay. However his real battle would begin after being released from prison, when Henderson would attempt to transfer his firearms collection to the third party of his choice.
The FBI claimed that Henderson was not allowed to transfer the collection worth $ 3,500 citing U.S.C. 922(g) which prohibits a felon from possessing a firearm. Henderson took his case to the lower courts, all of whom upheld the FBI’s decision. Finally, Henderson took his crusade to the Supreme Court. The high court ruled that Section 922(g) does permit a felon to transfer their firearms to a third party as long as the court is satisfied that the felon will not have access to the firearms.
This is a victory not only for Tony Henderson but for beleagured gun owners across the nation.
A frightening case of overreach
Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote for the court said that “A felon cannot evade the structures of (the law) by arranging a sham transfer that leaves him in effective control of his guns.” According to ABC News, Kagan also went on to say that the FBI could have turned the collection over to a federally-licensed firearms dealer and have the proceeds from the sale of the guns awarded to Henderson.
Justice Kagan finally said that the government’s reading of the law went too far in saying that Henderson would be “in possession” of the guns if he were allowed to sell them. No truer sentence has ever been written.
In the last several years the term “government overreach” somehow became a normal part of our vocabulary. The group that seems to be affected most by government intrusion is the one of licensed gun owners. It seems that everyday the government is chipping away our gun rights.
While there has not been an outright ban on owning guns, it seems like the number of people allowed to own firearms is dwindling. I am probably not going to make any friends by saying this, but I believe that Section 922(g) does infringe on a person’s 2nd Amendment rights (feel free to fact check me on this).
Now I am not saying that people with a history of violence ought to be in possession of a firearm, but governments use the word “felony” to blanket numerous crimes. Am I saying that they should be given a pat on the back? No. What I am saying is that those who have made a one time mistake should not suffer for the rest of their lives after they have paid their debt to society. Some felons do go on to lead productive lives once they have straightened out, and I see no reason to penalize them further.
Every bit of control helps
So what does Tony Henderson’s victory mean? That depends on whether you are a glass half empty or half full kind of person. I see this as gun owners taking back a small amount of control of their lives. It may not be much, but every little bit of control helps.