American Rifleman - March 2015 - 80

OFFICIAL JOURNAL

ILA report:

Latest legislative news from inside the NRA Institute for Legislative Action

Federal Appellate Court Finds Application of
Gun Control Act Violates Second Amendment

I

n 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 U.S. Court of Appeals for the
6th 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 County Sheriff's Department.
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, his thenwife of 23 years left him for another
man, depleted his finances, and filed for
divorce.  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 and he 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 6th 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.
Before turning to the "means-end"
analysis, the court first concluded that
the ban on individuals committed to
a mental institution did not have a
long pedigree in American law, noting
that mental institutions were virtually
unheard of in America at the time the
Second Amendment was adopted.
With regard to the strict scrutiny
analysis, the government asserted the interests protected by the prohibition were
"protecting the community from crime"
and "preventing suicide," which the court

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IL A G ra ssro o ts:

80

NR A- I L A :
MARCH 2015

readily recognized as compelling. Thus,
the case turned on whether the regulation was narrowly tailored to that end.
The court found that as applied to Taylor,
it was not. First, unlike other categorical
prohibitions on firearm possession in the
Gun Control Act, the commitment prohibition could apply to non-violent, non-criminal individuals, who were prohibited based
on conduct that was not under their control. The court also reasoned that Congress
did not intend for all previously committed
people to lose their Second Amendment
rights for life, because it created two roads
to relief. One is a petition process administered under federal law, and another is
federal recognition of certain state relief
from disability procedures. In Tyler's case,
however, neither option was available.
Congress has defunded the federal relief
procedure since 1992, and Michigan has
not enacted a state relief procedure that
complies with federal law.
Thus, as applied to Tyler, the prohibition for previously committed individuals was "overbroad" and therefore not
narrowly tailored. "The government's
interest in keeping firearms out of the
hands of the mentally ill is not sufficiently related to depriving the mentally
healthy, who had a distant episode of
commitment, of their constitutional
rights," according to the court's opinion.
The opinion demonstrates the outcome of a scholarly, inquisitive analysis
of the issue before it. Unfortunately,
few other federal appellate courts have
demonstrated a similar commitment to a
thorough review of Second Amendment
claims and have treated the issue with
condescension and superficiality, if not
outright hostility. Indeed, the court itself
stated, "We do not believe that any other
court of appeals in a reasoned opinion
has reviewed a firearm restriction as
severe as this one" (emphasis added).
The 6th Circuit covers portions of
Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

NR A- I L A web s i te: w w w. nr aila. org
AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

1/14/15 9:36 AM


http://www.NRAILA.org/2015TAGPoll http://www.nraila.org

American Rifleman - March 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - March 2015

Contents
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW1
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW2
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover1
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover2
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 1
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Contents
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 3
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 4
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 5
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 6
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 7
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 8
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 9
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 10
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 11
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 12
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 13
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 14
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 15
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 16
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 17
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 18
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 19
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 20
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 21
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 22
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 23
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 24
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 25
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 26
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 27
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 28
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 29
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 30
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 31
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 32
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 33
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 34
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 35
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 36
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 37
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 38
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 39
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 40
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 41
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 42
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 43
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 44
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 45
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 46
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 47
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 48
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 49
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 50
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 51
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American Rifleman - March 2015 - 53
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 54
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 55
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 56
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 57
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 58
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American Rifleman - March 2015 - 60
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 61
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 62
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 63
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 64
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 65
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 66
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 67
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American Rifleman - March 2015 - 69
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 70
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 71
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 72
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 73
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American Rifleman - March 2015 - 78
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 79
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 80
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 81
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82b
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83b
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82c
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83c
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82d
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83d
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82e
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83e
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 82f
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 83f
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 84
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American Rifleman - March 2015 - 90
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 91
American Rifleman - March 2015 - 92
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover3
American Rifleman - March 2015 - Cover4
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW3
American Rifleman - March 2015 - CW4
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