Everybody knows a DUI can carry severe penalties, from heavy fines, possible jail time, and driving restrictions to impacting a person’s ability to get a job or a bank loan. One result of a DUI that most of my clients aren’t prepared for is the loss of their Second Amendment right to carry a firearm.
If you have applied for or renewed your handgun carry permit lately, you have checked one of the boxes below before sending off your application.
You may have thought, “what does a DUI have to do with me getting my handgun carry permit?” For the practical application, the answer is a lot; but for the logical explanation, the answer is unknown.
The Tennessee Legislature passed a law that says a citizen shall not be granted a license if they have been convicted of a DUI in Tennessee or any other state two or more times within 10 years from the date of application and with one of the convictions occurring within 5 years from the date of the application. An application will also not be granted if you are under indictment for a DUI (so much for innocent until proven guilty). You are now facing serious restrictions on your ability to lawfully exercise your Second Amendment rights.
The rights of responsible gun users are under continual attack by legislation such as this. Many courts have applied an intermediate scrutiny test when deciding if a law infringes on the Second Amendment. There are 2 primary concerns when the courts review a law under this analysis:
- First, does the government have an important governmental interest?
- Second, does T.C.A. 39-17-1351 further an important governmental interest by means that are substantially related to that interest?
I believe society as a whole would agree that only allowing responsible people to possess handguns is an important governmental interest. However, the fact that a person has had more than one DUI within a 10 year timeframe lacks a direct correlation that the applicant cannot possess a firearm in a responsible manner. An analogy might be “that a person who has not held a job for 6 months cannot have a gun permit”. One doesn’t have anything to do with the other and; therefore, aren’t “substantially related”.
If you have been denied a license to carry your firearm, you need the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If I can help answer any questions please call my office and I’ll be happy to discuss the particulars of your case.
In defense of the citizen accused,