As I detailed in a previous post, Judge Sotomayor co-authored two opinions which denied that the possession of a firearm is a fundamental right. The first case can defended as based on what was, at the time, still-valid dicta. The second case is indefensible.
The first case was United States v. Sanchez-Villar (2004). For the proposition that that there is no fundamental right to possess a gun, Judge Sotomayor and the other two judges quoted United States v. Toner, 728 F.2d 115 (2d Cir., 1984). Let’s look at it.
Vincent Toner and Colm Murphy were convicted of attempting to purchase unregistered machine guns for the purpose of smuggling them to Northern Ireland, on behalf of misnamed Irish National Liberation Army. To their surprise, the purported middleman in the deal turned out to be an FBI informant.
On appeal, Murphy challenged, inter alia, the federal statute prohibiting illegal aliens from possessing firearms. He argued that since American citizens can possess firearms, the statute prohibiting illegal aliens from doing so was a denial of equal protection. The court’s analysis of the issue is as follows:
Murphy was convicted under Count Four of violating 18 U.S.C.App.