The Weekly Reload Podcast

A Gun-Rights Lawyer Argues Second Amendment Protects Illegal Immigrants

April 8th, 2024

This week, we're discussing a hotly debated topic: the gun rights of illegal immigrants.

A federal judge's recent ruling that the law disarming a defendant who is in the country unlawfully, but who doesn't have any violent convictions, violates the Second Amendment has drawn a lot of attention. It has been one of our most trafficked stories at The Reload this year. The same is true for the dueling analysis pieces we published examining the ruling's legal theory and where the Supreme Court might come down on the issue.

Given the discussion surrounding all of this, it seemed like a good idea to take a deeper dive into the topic. That's why we asked gun-rights lawyer Matt Larosiere, who wrote one of those analysis pieces for us, to come on the show. He gave us a fuller explanation of why he believes the Second Amendment protects nearly all people in the United States, regardless of their immigration status.

He argued the modern gun prohibition based on immigration status shouldn't be able to withstand the Supreme Court's Bruen test because the Founders didn't view citizenship the way we do today and the Second Amendment's language is better read to protect nearly anyone in the country. He said reading the amendment to exclude those who aren't part of the political community doesn't work because the average American wasn't allowed to vote or participate in other key political functions during the Founding Era. Yet they did have their gun rights protected.

He also argued that denying gun rights to immigrants in the country unlawfully, which is only a misdemeanor, necessitates adopting a legal standard that would put everyone else's gun rights at risk. Still, Larosiere acknowledged the recent ruling is an outlier and the Supreme Court is unlikely to take up a similar case anytime soon. But he argued gun-rights proponents should embrace the ruling and the logic that led to it.