Court: Montana Felon Cannot Possess A Firearm - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Court: Montana Felon Cannot Possess A Firearm

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 A U.S. Appellate Court ruled a Montana felon does not have the right to own a gun even after his rights were restored.

In 1983, Frank Van der hule pled guilty to sexual assault and four counts of sexual intercourse without consent in Montana. A judge sentenced Van der hule to 25 years in prison.

In 1996, Van der hule completed his sentence. Under Montana law, Van der hule civil rights were restored such as the right to vote.

In 2003, Van der hule tried to buy a firearm from a dealer. After a background check, Van der hule did not quality for a concealed weapons permit in Montana, and also he was not allowed to have a firearm under federal law.

Van der hule then sued the U.S. Attorney General on the issue arguing Montana and federal law did not restrict him from obtaining a concealed weapons permit or possessing any firearms since his rights were restored.

In 2007, a district court disagreed with Van der hule, but the court did put a question to the Montana Supreme Court. That question, could a sheriff have the discretion to grant a concealed weapons permit to someone with a criminal history.

In 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that a person with a criminal background cannot possess a firearm and also a sheriff did not have the right to grant a permit under his discretion.

Van der hule then added to his argument saying the federal and state laws deprived him of his Second Amendment rights.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the earlier rulings that Van der hule does not have a right to get a concealed carry permit and he is prohibited from obtaining a firearm under federal law.