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Ruling Loosens Ban On Owning Guns After Minor Convictions

September 8th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

A federal appeals court has ruled that some people convicted of comparatively minor state crimes should get a chance to legally own guns, issuing a divided decision that reshapes longstanding rules.

The narrowly divided 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday sided with two Pennsylvania residents, deeming their crimes as minor even though they could have produced jail time of more than two years.

The court restored gun ownership rights to Daniel Binderup, who pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania in 1998 to misdemeanor corruption of minors for a consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl working at his bakery. He received probation and a fine, but the offense carried a potential sentence of five years.

It also ruled in favor of Julio Suarez, who pleaded guilty in Maryland to misdemeanor possession of a handgun without a license, a conviction that could have sent him to jail for three years. He received a suspended sentence and a fine.

The 3rd Circuit majority ruled that the federal gun ownership ban requires the offenses to be considered serious crimes, rather than simply carry state sentences of at least two years or more. The judges noted that both Pennsylvania and Maryland graded Binderup and Suarez's conviction as misdemeanors.

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