Case Summary : United States v. Knight, 574 F.Supp.2d 224 (D.Maine) (Sept. 4, 2008)

Summary: United States v. Knight, 574 F.Supp.2d 224 (D.Maine) (Sept. 4, 2008). The defendant was charged with making a materially false statement in trying to purchase a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6). Specifically, the defendant was charged with denying that he was subject to a Restraining Order in filling out an ATF questionnaire, which denial was untrue. Defendant moved to dismiss the indictment under Heller. The Court viewed the supposed “materiality” of the false statement as dependent upon whether Heller invalidated 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), which prohibits people who are subject to certain court orders from possessing firearms. The court denied the motion, finding that Heller did not constitutionally invalidate the § 922(g)(8) crime, since § 922(g)(8) does not impose an outright ban on firearm possession. Instead, the prohibition lasts only as long as the underlying state court order is in effect, and the scope of the prohibition is narrow. Reducing domestic violence is a compelling government interest, and § 922(g)(8)'s temporary prohibition, while the state court order is outstanding, is narrowly tailored to meet that compelling interest.

Practice Note: This case represents a strong affirmation of the validity and importance of § 922(g)(8), and presents a good example of judicial balancing of Second Amendment rights against other compelling governmental interests.