Last updated October 6th, 2023 at 01:59 pm
Federal law prohibits people under felony indictment from buying guns.
Former President Donald Trump visited a gun store in South Carolina and expressed an interest in purchasing a Glock handgun. However, due to his felony indictment, Trump would not be allowed to purchase or possess a firearm, according to federal law. Trump has been charged with 91 felonies in the two federal and two state indictments against him this year. When buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer, the buyer must fill out a standard form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives with a series of questions, including whether the purchaser is addicted to drugs or whether the person has been charged with a felony or crime for which a judge could levy a prison sentence longer than a year.
It is unclear whether Trump has been entered into the FBI NICS database, which allows gun stores to conduct instant background checks. If he had been able to complete the purchase, however, he likely would have broken multiple federal laws. Lying on ATF Form 4473 is a felony. Many of the laws restricting gun purchases by prohibited users are now in flux following the Supreme Court’s bombshell ruling in New York State Rifle Assn. v. Bruen. The ruling laid out a sweeping new interpretation of the Second Amendment that casts aside public safety concerns when weighing the constitutionality of gun restrictions. Instead, courts must now assess whether a gun regulation has a historic tradition dating back to sometime between 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, and the end of the Civil War.
A Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas ruled last year that it is unconstitutional to block people under felony indictment from buying guns. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was charged with a felony last month for answering “no” to the drug question on ATF Form 4473 when he bought a Colt revolver in October 2018 while he was heavily using crack cocaine. As a standalone charge, the gun case against Hunter Biden is unusual; he may also face charges for failing to pay income taxes.
In addition to the court challenges, several Republicans in Congress have taken aim at the drug restrictions on gun owners. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has backed long-shot legislation that would allow marijuana users to own firearms without lying on the federal form.