Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, may find an unexpected legal opportunity in the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court as he contests his indictment on firearms-related charges.
Hunter Biden, 53, is preparing to enter a plea of not guilty in Delaware for allegedly possessing a firearm unlawfully as an illegal drug user and providing false information about his drug use during a background check when purchasing a Colt Cobra revolver in 2018.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2022, known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, established a new benchmark for assessing the legality of government-imposed gun restrictions.
It declared that these restrictions must align with the historical tradition of firearm regulation in the United States.
The indictment, led by Special Counsel David Weiss in September, came after a plea agreement between Hunter Biden and prosecutors fell apart in August.
Hunter Biden’s defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, has hinted that they may challenge aspects of the indictment based on the Bruen decision.
Hunter Biden is expected to argue that the federal law prohibiting illegal drug users from owning firearms lacks historical precedent and infringes upon his Second Amendment right to bear arms.
However, Lowell has not publicly commented on the implications of the Bruen ruling in this case.
In a statement, Lowell stated, “We believe these charges are barred by the agreement the prosecutors made with Mr. Biden, the recent rulings by several federal courts that this statute is unconstitutional, and the facts that he did not violate that law, and we plan to demonstrate all of that in court.”
The political landscape is unusual in this case, as Democrats generally advocate for stricter gun restrictions, while Republicans oppose them. Hunter Biden’s challenge to a federal firearms law disrupts these traditional political dynamics.
The Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in a Texas case, set to be argued on November 7, may have significant implications for Hunter Biden’s situation.
The case involves whether individuals under domestic violence restraining orders can be prohibited from owning firearms.
If the court applies the Bruen ruling as it did in the 5th Circuit, it may impact Hunter Biden’s case, potentially influencing the level of danger required to bar someone from firearm possession.
In the midst of these legal developments, Hunter Biden still faces two counts of providing false statements on the background check form, which experts suggest may be more challenging to dismiss due to the nature of the charges.
These counts resemble other unrelated charges that criminalize dishonesty with the U.S. government on significant matters.
The legal landscape is evolving, and the outcome of these cases will help define the extent to which the Bruen decision empowers courts to invalidate gun laws, making Hunter Biden’s legal challenge a significant test case in this evolving area of law.