A United States District Judge has denied the motion of Amishman Reuben King to set aside a verdict that could lead to five years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
King was convicted by a federal jury in May for selling firearms without a license, despite the lack of clarity in the law, which does not require a license if the seller does not have profit as his “principal motive.”
On June 7, King filed a motion to set aside the verdict. In a Reply Brief in support of the motion, King’s lawyer, Joshua Prince, argued that the Second Amendment protects King’s right to sell without a federal license and the lack of “national historical tradition of the regulation of the commercial sale of firearms…until 1938” is favorable for King.
“And there can be no dispute that the Second Amendment protects closely related acts, incident to its exercise, such as the commercial sale of firearms, because without the ability for one to engage in the commercial sale of firearms, there would be no ability for one to purchase firearms and thus, would render the Second Amendment meaningless,” Prince wrote.
However, on July 31 District Judge Joseph F. Leeson denied King’s motion to set aside the verdict.
In his Opinion, Leeson said the nation’s “historical tradition of firearm regulation” is irrelevant because the Second Amendment does “not cover the commercial sale of firearms.”
Leeson also wrote off arguments that other court cases apply directly to King, including the Supreme Court’s Bruen v. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. and the Third Circuit’s Range v. Attorney General.
In Range, the court ruled that in order to bar a non-violent felon from gun ownership, the government needed to show that the statute was “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” The Third Circuit determined that the government did not meet that burden, because early American law only prohibited violent criminals from gun ownership.
King’s motion argued that a similar burden was on the government to demonstrate that requiring a license to sell guns is consistent with American tradition, noting that the first federal licensure law arose in the 20th century.
Leeson rejected such a burden as necessary.
“Unlike Range, who sought only to possess firearms, King sought to commercially deal in firearms,” Leeson wrote. “Indeed, King already possessed more than 600 firearms, and although that might seem excessive to some, his possession of a good-sized arsenal was not, by itself, unlawful. The unlawful part of King’s conduct was dealing in firearms commercially without a license.”
King’s sentencing is currently scheduled for Sept. 6. After sentencing, King can appeal the case to a higher court.
Stew Peters, host of the Stew Peters Show, highlighted King’s case on his talk show Monday evening, noting that King’s case is not “a one off” and the federal government is cracking down on Americans who want to be self-sufficient.