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Hunter Biden’s Lawyers Use Supreme Court Gun Ruling to Defend Against Charges: A Case Analysis

Discover how Hunter Biden's legal team is using an important Supreme Court ruling on gun rights to counter potential charges against him. Explore the possible implications for firearms laws and the broader debate.

Discover how Hunter Biden’s legal team is using an important Supreme Court ruling on gun rights to counter potential charges against him. Explore the possible implications for firearms laws and the broader debate.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers are employing a strategic defense tactic by invoking a Supreme Court ruling on gun rights to protect against potential charges. This move is significant because President Joe Biden, who is Hunter Biden’s father, has strongly criticized the same ruling, calling it an attack on “common sense and the Constitution.” Hunter Biden’s legal team bases their argument on a majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, a well-known advocate for gun rights. Democrats, who perceive him as supportive of the gun lobby, have taken notice.

The investigation into Hunter Biden, led by U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss in Delaware, is nearing its conclusion. However, the legality of various gun laws remains uncertain following a landmark Supreme Court ruling last summer that significantly expanded the right to carry firearms outside the home. This ruling has led to challenges against existing firearms laws, introducing complexities to the case.

One of the potential offenses under investigation is whether Hunter Biden provided false information on a federal firearms application in 2018 regarding drug addiction. Hunter Biden’s legal team, headed by prominent white-collar defense lawyer Christopher Clark, argues that any charges against him are likely to be dismissed based on pending federal appeals court decisions that cite the Supreme Court ruling as a precedent.

It is currently unknown if U.S. attorney David C. Weiss is receptive to this argument, as his office has not commented on the matter. Hunter Biden’s legal team specifically references a case challenging the criteria used in the federal firearms background check system, known as the 4473 form. This case is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which covers Delaware. The argument is for granting gun ownership rights based on Justice Thomas’s opinion, and a decision is expected in the next few months.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have used this argument to push for the closure of the long-running Justice Department investigation. Initially focused on allegations of failure to file federal income taxes, the investigation expanded to include scrutiny of his 2018 handgun purchase and false response about drug use on the application, which coincided with his struggle to maintain sobriety. However, prosecuting these offenses as standalone charges is relatively uncommon, and officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who reviewed Hunter Biden’s file expressed doubt about pursuing charges due to his seeking treatment and lack of prior criminal history.

In recent years, there have been calls to reconsider or remove the drug-related question from firearms applications, especially concerning marijuana. However, federal firearms and drug laws have not been amended by Congress, and federal authorities have not relaxed regulations in this regard.

Despite the easing of restrictions in Minnesota, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives maintains its prohibition on cannabis users purchasing guns or ammunition.

The case before the Third Circuit Court has gained national attention for challenging the government’s authority to deny firearm ownership to individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes or “nonserious” violations. The main issue revolves around the 4473 form, which critics argue infringes on Second Amendment rights. Attorney Michael P. Gottlieb, representing Bryan David Range in the case, asserts its national significance and predicts that it may eventually reach the Supreme Court.

Justice Department lawyers argue that nonviolent offenses demonstrate a disregard for the rule of law and should disqualify individuals from owning firearms. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court’s ruling has prompted numerous lawsuits across the country, including challenges to the federal government’s authority to deny firearms to drug addicts. Notably, in February, a three-judge appeals panel in New Orleans invalidated a section of a federal law that prohibited individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms.

These cases rely on Justice Thomas’s majority opinion, which emphasizes the need for gun laws to align with the historical traditions of firearm regulation in the United States.

Another case mentioned by Hunter Biden’s legal team involves a ruling from a Federal District Court in Oklahoma that struck down parts of a federal law preventing marijuana users from owning firearms. The Justice Department is expected to appeal this decision.

As these legal battles unfold, the outcomes of these cases will likely shape the future of gun rights and regulations, extending beyond Hunter Biden’s personal situation. The debate surrounding firearms laws and the interpretation of the Second Amendment is poised to remain a contentious issue, potentially leading to a further resolution in the Supreme Court.

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