Hamilton v. Pallozzi, No. 16-1222 (4th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff brought an as-applied Second Amendment challenge to Maryland's firearms regulatory scheme, arguing that the scheme is unconstitutional as applied to him. Plaintiff is a convicted felon in Virginia who has had his civil rights restored by the Governor of Virginia and his firearms rights restored by the Virginia courts. Currently a resident of Maryland, plaintiff wants to obtain a permit for a handgun and possess a long gun, both of which he is unable to do in Maryland absent a full pardon from the Governor of Virginia. The district court dismissed his complaint for failure to state a claim. The court held that a state law felon cannot pass the first step of the United States v. Chester inquiry when bringing an as-applied challenge to a law disarming felons, unless that person has received a pardon or the law forming the basis of conviction has been declared unconstitutional or otherwise unlawful. The court further held that evidence of rehabilitation, the likelihood of recidivism, and the passage of time may not be considered at the first step of the Chester inquiry as a result. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiff failed at step one of the Chester analysis. The court affirmed the judgment.