United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Loretta
Lynch's, in her official capacity as the Attorney General
of the United States, Motion (Doc. 13) to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Plaintiff filed a timely
Response (Doc. 17) and the Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 21).
Reply briefs are discouraged under Local Rule 7.1(c) and
should only be filed only in exceptional circumstances.
Further, a party is required to state the exceptional
circumstance in its brief. Defendant's reply brief does
not state an exceptional circumstance and therefore, is
stricken for failure to comply with Local Rule 7.1(c).
Plaintiff is a convicted felon having pleaded guilty to, and
was convicted of, one count of making false statements with
regard to benefit claims under the Railroad Unemployment
Insurance Act in violation of Title 18, United States Code,
§ 1001 on February 28, 1992. See Untied States v.
Hatfield, 91-cr-30093-WLB, SDIL. As such, plaintiff is
an individual convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment
of more than one year.
U.S.C. § 922(g) states that it shall be unlawful for any
person who has been convicted of a crime punishable by
imprisonment for more than one year to possess a firearm or
ammunition. Plaintiff brings this action to challenge the
provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) arguing that if he had
been convicted in state court, he could seek relief in order
to reinstate his right to possess a firearm. He further
argues that federal law provides a means to restore civil
rights, but that lack of funding restricts the Department of
Justice from processing any such petitions except for
plaintiff's complaint alleges that he has a fundamental
right to “keep and bear arms in the home for
self-defense” and that as an individual with a,
“relatively minor non-violent felony, nearly 25 years
ago, who has not had any trouble with the law in the
intervening 25 years, and who would be eligible to go through
a process to restore his civil right, and thereafter to
lawfully possess arms, were he convicted in state
court” should have a federal means to restore his civil
rights. As such, plaintiff is seeking this court to declare
18 U.S.C. § 922(g) unconstitutional as applied to the
plaintiff. (Doc. 1).
moves to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint on two
grounds. First, defendant argues that the plaintiff lacks
standing and as such, this Court lacks jurisdiction. Second,
defendant argues that categorical bans on felony possession
of firearms are not barred by the Second Amendment and 18
U.S.C. § 922(g) is constitutional as-applied to the
plaintiff as it relates to a compelling governmental
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to 12(b)(1) -
doctrine of standing is a component of the Constitution's
restriction of federal courts' jurisdiction to adjudicate
actual cases or controversies. Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992); see U.S.
Const. art. III, § 2. “In essence the question of
standing is whether the litigant is entitled to have the
court decide the merits of the dispute or particular
issues.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498,
95 S.Ct. 2197, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975). Standing contains three
First, the plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact -
an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a)
concrete and particularized . . . and (b) actual or imminent,
not conjectural or hypothetical. . . . Second, there must be
a causal connection between the injury and the conduct
complained of - the injury has to be fairly . . . trace[able]
to the challenged action of the defendant, and not . . . the
result [of] the independent action of some third party not
before the court. . . .. Third, it must be likely, as opposed
to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a
Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61 (internal citations,
quotations and footnotes omitted); accord Sierra
Club v. Franklin County Power of Ill., LLC, 546 F.3d
918, 925 (7th Cir. 2008).
party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing the elements of standing. See Lujan,
504 U.S. at 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130. “Since [the elements
of standing] are not mere pleading requirements but rather an
indispensable part of the plaintiff's case, each element
must be supported in the same way as any other matter on
which the plaintiff bears the burden of proof, i.e.,
with the manner and degree of evidence required at the
successive stages of litigation.” Id. In
ruling on a motion to dismiss for lack of standing, the
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be accepted as
true. See Warth, 422 U.S. at 501, 95 S.Ct. 2197.
“[w]here standing is challenged as a factual matter,
the plaintiff bears the burden of supporting the allegations
necessary for standing with ‘competent
proof.'” Retired Chicago Police Ass'n v.
City of Chicago, 76 F.3d 856, 862 (7th Cir.
1996). “Competent proof” requires a showing by a
preponderance of the evidence that standing exists.
Id. “[S]tanding goes to the jurisdiction of a
federal court to hear a particular case, it must exist at the
commencement of the suit.” Perry v. Vill. of
Arlington Heights, 186 F.3d 826, 829-830 (7th Cir.
argues that the Plaintiff lacks standing because,
“invalidating § 922(g)(1) is unlikely to redress
his alleged injury (the inability to possess a firearm)
because it would still be unlawful for the Plaintiff to