DOJ Under Biden Wants to Uphold Gun Ownership Ban for Drug Users

( – Many people have become familiar with the Justice Department (DOJ) case against Hunter Biden, brought by Special Counsel David Weiss, regarding his gun ownership while actively using and addicted to illicit drugs. However, until recently, few had heard of Erik Harris, who is appealing his conviction for violating the ban on owning a gun if using or addicted to any controlled substance. The Biden administration DOJ remains keen to uphold the ban.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing the case, United States v. Erik Harris, after they revived it in June 2203 based on the Third Circuit ruling on Range v. Attorney General. In the Range case, an en banc panel held that the federal law prohibiting a felon from owning a firearm was unconstitutional with regard to felonies committed by making false statements.

In April 2019, Harris, attending the California University of Pennsylvania in the Pittsburgh area, called police to report one of his guns missing. During questioning, the student admitted to responding officers that he habitually used marijuana. The authorities found and arrested the suspected thief but also charged the gun owner for lying regarding his drug use on federal Form 4473 when purchasing his weapons.

Harris agreed to a plea deal in which he would plead guilty but reserved the right to appeal. He also requested probation. Instead, the court sentenced the student to six months in prison and another six months of house arrest. In her April brief, his public defender, Renee Pietropaolo, pointed out that federal prosecutors pursued charges against her client while ignoring the prosecution of other, higher profile, or celebrity offenders. She pointed to individuals like Bill Maher and Joe Rogan as examples.

On November 15, both the defense and the prosecution entered supplemental briefs to address specific questions regarding whether regular use of marijuana might produce mental health issues and whether previous precedents support disarming addicts or recreational drug users. In its supplemental brief, the prosecution argued that marijuana and other illicit substances significantly impaired cognition.

The court plans to hear oral arguments in the case on December 8. Federal prosecutors don’t yet know how the outcome might affect the pending Hunter Biden case.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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