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Touro Law Review

Abstract

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) imposes a lifetime ban on those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution from purchasing, or possessing a firearm, regardless of an extended passage of time, or a finding that the individual is unlikely to pose a danger to themselves or the public. Three circuits have created a split concerning the constitutionality of this statute. The Third Circuit held in Beers v. Attorney General United States that those involuntarily committed were outside of the scope of the Second Amendment; therefore, the § 922(g)(4)’s categorical ban is constitutional. Next, the Ninth Circuit in Mai v. United States assumed, without deciding, that these same individuals are inside of the scope of the Second Amendment but held § 922(g)(4) constitutional under intermediate scrutiny as applied to those whose commitments were long ago. Finally, the Sixth Circuit held in Tyler v. Hillsdale City Sheriff’s Department, that individuals such as Tyler, who had been involuntarily committed into a mental institution, were within the Second Amendment’s scope. The Sixth Circuit held § 922(g)(4) unconstitutional under intermediate scrutiny.

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