The Weekly Reload Podcast

GMU Professor Robert Leider on a Federal Judge Striking Down the Felony Indictment Gun Ban

September 26th, 2022

We're focusing on a new federal court ruling calling the federal felony gun ban into question this week.

That's why we've got George Mason University's Robert Leider on the podcast. He is an assistant professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School who has clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. He has also written extensively about Second Amendment law.

He said District Court Judge David Counts was correct in his conclusion that the ban on those under felony inducement receiving firearms does not have a historical analogue. He said the same is true for the ban on convicted felons possessing guns. Leider argued the text-and-tradition standard imposed by the Supreme Court's decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen calls both those federal provisions into question alongside a myriad of other gun laws.

Still, he said it's unlikely the felony prohibition will end up in the dustbin. Leider said Counts's solution to the issue, which relies on the historical practice of excluding felons from protections for "the people," may not be the right answer. But he said the federal courts are likely to settle on a justification due in part to the popularity of the restrictions. He argued judicial realism will play a role in how the question plays out even if that's not what the Supreme Court requires.

Leider also talked about what he views as the biggest threat to legal gun carry: New York's novel attempt to prohibit carry in public businesses by default. He said the decision to flip the presumption on its head could be difficult to contend with in court. It forces a faceoff between the right to carry and private property rights that has yet to be litigated.

He said it's not clear how things will turn out and worries the policy could quickly spread to other states. Although, he also lays out a possible Achilles' Heel in New York's implementation.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about new polls that show how Beto O'Rourke's gun-control push in Texas is playing out. And Reload Member Bobby Mercer joins the show to talk about how he got into guns as well as what The Liberal Gun Club is and why he joined it.