The Supreme Court Expands Gun Rights for Felons

Score another win for the 2nd Amendment!

While most Americans do not want felons owning firearms legally, the constitutional problems that arise when someone becomes a felon can be difficult to deal with. Such was the case with a question that the Supreme Court just answered – can someone convicted of a felony sell (and profit) from their firearms… or must they simply be given up as part of his felony conviction? 

Well, the court has decided…


The Supreme Court expanded gun rights for felons Friday by allowing them to keep the proceeds from their sold firearms after they are seized by the government.

When former Border Patrol Agent Tony Henderson was convicted of distributing marijuana, he knew he couldn’t keep his collection of 19 guns. Federal law prohibits felons from owning firearms.

Henderson voluntarily surrendered his guns as a condition of his bail. But when he wanted to sell his guns to a friend for $3,500 or transfer them to his wife, the court stepped in and said no.

Henderson challenged and for years fought in court until finally gaining victory. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that felons are allowed to keep the proceeds from their sold firearms. They can also choose who receives their guns as long as they aren’t given to anyone who would allow the felon to exert control over them.

Prosecutors argued that selling the guns would mean he technically possessed them while selling, and they also expressed concern that he would be the de facto owner by selling them to someone close to him.

This outraged gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association, which filed an Amicus Brief in the case.

“The result is that the Second Amendment rights of certain law-abiding, responsible citizens – such as family members or friends of individuals who have been convicted of a felony – are accorded less weight than the Second Amendment rights of other law-abiding citizens, including those who do not propose to use the firearms in question for the purpose of self-defense in the home,” the brief reads.

SCOTUS ruled that felons may transfer their guns for sale to a third party vendor, such as a gun vendor and in some cases a particular person as long as they can’t continue to exert influence over the weapons.

“A felon cannot evade the strictures of (the law) by arranging a sham transfer that leaves him in effective control of his guns,” Kagan wrote in the court’s opinion.