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Chicago judge rules undocumented immigrants have rights to carry a gun | Godoy law office immigration lawyers

Chicago Judge Rules Undocumented Immigrants Have Rights To Carry A Gun

A judge in Illinois recently ruled that a law banning undocumented immigrants from having guns might not be legal. Judge Sharon Coleman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued an opinion in U.S. v. Carbajal-Flores, that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5), a federal law making it a crime for an “illegal alien” to possess a firearm, is unconstitutional as applied.

Heriberto Carbajal-Flores was an undocumented Mexican immigrant living in Chicago and was found in possession of a handgun in 2020. Judge Coleman ruled that Carbajal-Flores had no criminal record and the circumstances behind his arrest were not violent, so he should not be deprived of his Second Amendment right to bear arms in self-defense,

Coleman wrote:

“Carbajal-Flores has never been convicted of a felony, a violent crime, or a crime involving the use of a weapon. Even in the present case, Carbajal-Flores contends that he received and used the handgun solely for self-protection and protection of property during a time of documented civil unrest in the Spring of 2020.”

This decision only applies to this one specific case, not to all undocumented immigrants in the United States. It also does not take into account any local state laws of Illinois. 

How Do Gun Laws Apply To Immigrants?

Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs)
Legal Permanent Residents, often referred to as green card holders, are generally allowed to purchase and own firearms in the United States. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473, which is required for the lawful purchase of a firearm from a licensed dealer, explicitly mentions that LPRs are eligible to buy firearms. They must, however, comply with all other federal, state, and local laws regarding firearm ownership, including background checks and waiting periods.

Nonimmigrant Visa Holders
For nonimmigrant visa holders (those in the U.S. on a temporary basis), the situation is more restrictive. Under federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(B), it is generally unlawful for a person who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa to possess a firearm or ammunition unless they fall under certain exceptions. These exceptions include, but are not limited to:

  • Possessing a valid hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States.
  • Being an official representative of a foreign government who is accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States.
  • Being in possession of a waiver granted by the Attorney General.

Undocumented Immigrants
Generally for undocumented immigrants, owning a firearm is illegal under federal law. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(A) prohibits any person who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States from possessing firearms or ammunition.

What Are The Consequences?

Violating federal firearm laws can have severe consequences for immigrants, including deportation, denial of naturalization, and criminal charges. It’s crucial for immigrants to understand and comply with all applicable laws related to firearm ownership.

Criminal Charges And Immigrants

Criminal charges can have serious consequences for noncitizens, even if they are not convicted. If you are a non-citizen who has been charged with a crime or has been convicted of a criminal offense, your criminal defense attorney must know both immigration and criminal law so that you don’t lose your status – or face deportation. Immigrants and non-citizens who are charged with a crime should be careful to hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in both immigration and criminal law. Crimmigration is the practice of criminal defense law for immigrants and non-citizens by lawyers who understand the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. 

Know Your Rights: Hire A Crimmigration Lawyer

Immigrants have rights. If you or a loved one are an immigrant and are charged with a crime, call an attorney experienced in both criminal and immigration law. Our Illinois crimmigration attorneys and deportation defense lawyers at Godoy Law Office practice criminal defense and immigration law. Call the crimmigration lawyers at 630-345-4164.

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