United States v. Perez, No. 19-620 (2d Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Perez was born in rural Mexico in 1989 and entered the U.S. without authorization at age 13. He has two children, who were born in the U.S., whom he visits and helps support financially. In July 2016, Perez was attending a barbeque when a violent fight broke out. Several young men wielding bats and machetes were attacking a member of a rival gang. Perez borrowed a firearm from an acquaintance and fired several shots into the air. Hearing the gunshots, the young men scattered, and Perez returned to the barbeque and returned the gun to his acquaintance. Days later, the NYPD obtained a video recording of the incident, identified Perez, and identified the firearm.
Perez was charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition while being an alien illegally and unlawfully in the U.S., 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5). Perez unsuccessfully moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that section 922(g)(5) on its face violated the Second Amendment by erecting a categorical bar on the possession of firearms by illegal or unlawful aliens. The Second Circuit affirmed. Assuming without deciding that, even as an undocumented alien, Perez is entitled to Second Amendment protection, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5), as applied to Perez, withstands intermediate scrutiny.