With Chief Justice William Rehnquist absent for medical
reasons, but reserving his right to rule on the case, the High Court
heard oral arguments on Nov. 3 in the case of a man convicted of falsifying
a 4473 form -- the federal document required when buying guns from licensed
gun dealers in America.
Small v. U.S.will be the Supreme Court's 62nd gun decision since
the often-cited Miller case of 1939. Widely believed to have
been virtually silent about guns, six years of research recently yielded
Supreme Court Gun Cases, a book
by Phoenix-based Bloomfield Press, which uncovered
92 gun cases the Court has handled in its history. Small is the
second case since the Dec., 2002 decision in Bean v. U.S., in
which the Court denied restoration of the right to keep and bear arms
on technical grounds, for a Texas man arrested on questionable charges
in Mexico. The 93rd gun case, Brosseau v. Haugen (2004), asked whether a police officer shooting an escaping felon in the back was an excessive use of force.
Gary Sherwood Small, a Pennsylvania resident, purchased a handgun from
a dealer in 1998, and was indicted in 2000 for denying any felony conviction,
on his federal paperwork. His lawyer, Paul D. Boas, argues that a conviction
in Japan for a gun violation is not within the law's meaning of a conviction
"in any court." Whether Congress meant to include foreign
courts is unclear, and the word "any" has been interpreted
both narrowly and broadly in the past. Justice Ginsburg said during
the hearing, "When Congress legislates, it usually is thinking
only about the United States," and that foreign convictions are
beyond its intent.
Whether Small will lose his right to arms, from a Japanese conviction
that might be characterized here as "kangaroo" justice*, will
be decided in 2005. It is the latest test of the American right to arms,
by a High Court that has recognized those rights for more than 200 years.
Small's brief is on our website under
*Small was arrested at a Japanese airport not in possession of any alleged
evidence, held without bail, denied due process, interrogated by police
for 25 days straight without a lawyer, prosecution relied on sworn statements
with no cross examination or witnesses present, his Japanese lawyer
barely spoke English and mainly tried to get him to confess (which he
refused to do), he was brought to trial without a jury, his silence
to outrageous questioning was held as proof of guilt, more. See the
brief, it will shock you.
P.S. Bloomfield Press is the largest publisher of gun law books in the
country, founded in 1989. Supreme Court Gun Cases for news media
review is free on request, call 1-800-707-4020. The authors are available
for interview, call us to schedule. Download hi-rez mini-cover art from
our website, click Media Services. Call for cogent positions on gun
issues, informed analysis on proposed laws, talk radio that lights up
the switchboard, fact sheets and position papers. As we always say,
"It doesn't make sense to own a gun and not know the rules."
"We publish the gun laws."
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