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Legally Armed: V20N2

By Teresa G. Ficaretta, Esq. & Johanna Reeves, Esq.

GCA Firearms Restrictions— Who Is a Prohibited Person?

Part II: 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)-(9)

In Vol. 20, No. 1, we provided readers with an overview of Federal firearms disabilities imposed under the Gun Control Act (GCA), 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44. Because there are 10 categories of “prohibited persons” under the GCA, we addressed 5 of the disabilities in Part I of the article, and this article addresses the remaining 5 disabilities as Part II. As stated in Part I, it is essential for Federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to have a working knowledge of this area of the law to avoid transferring firearms or ammunition to prohibited persons and aiding and abetting a prohibited person in unlawfully possessing these items. Caution must be exercised in this area not just for potential purchasers of the FFL’s products, but also for employees who possess firearms and ammunition for purposes of carrying out the FFL’s business.

This article will discuss the prohibited persons described in 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)-(9), which includes illegal and nonimmigrant aliens; persons dishonorably discharged from the military; renunciants of U.S. citizenship; persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders, and persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.

I. GCA Categories of Prohibited Persons § 922(g)(5)-(9)
A. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5) – Illegal Aliens and Nonimmigrant Aliens

Section 922(g)(5) includes two separate and distinct disabilities. The first applies to “aliens” who are illegally or unlawfully in the United States. The second applies to aliens who have been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, as that term is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act. We will discuss each of these
disabilities separately.

1. Aliens Illegally or Unlawfully in the United States--§ 922(g)(5)(A)

This provision has been in the GCA since enactment in 1968, but was not defined until ATF issued regulations implementing the Brady Law in 1997. The regulations provide that the term “alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States” means aliens who are not in valid immigrant, nonimmigrant or parole status. The definition in 27 § C.F.R. § 478.11 provides examples of...

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