Army Bob: Do aliens have 2nd Amendment rights?

by Robert M. Traxler

Federal Judge Sharon Coleman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has ruled that an illegal immigrant has the Second Amendment right to possess a firearm.

Both sides of the Second Amendment fight are split on this. It seemingly expands the Second Amendment making some happy, but allows gun rights to non-citizens, making others angry. There is an old saying that bad cases make bad precedents; this is a bad precedent, as the alien in this case is a bad actor, to say the least. 

Heriberto Carbajal-Flores fired a weapon at a car driving by his home in Chicago, believing was a threat to his family and neighbors. He was outside his “castle” on a public street in a residential neighborhood when he discharged his weapon. He was arrested, charged and convicted for a number of violations.   

The government contends that Carbajal-Flores remained in the United States unlawfully, possessed a weapon without a valid Firearms Owners Identify Card (FOID), an identification card required by the State of Illinois to possess arms or munitions, and Mr. Carbajal-Flores possessed a firearm not registered to him. He also received the firearm in an illegal street transaction.

The ruling by Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman in the case of Carbajal-Flores, who according to the judge had no criminal history of improper use of a firearm and therefore, did not present a public danger when exercising his Second Amendment rights, is tortured logic at best, bad law at its worst.

Carbajal-Flores pleaded guilty to three counts related to his involvement in a Mexican violent drug cartel called the Los Zetas. The first count involved a racketeer-influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) conspiracy to import controlled substances into the United States. The second and third counts were related to being an accessory after the fact to the ambush, murder, and attempted murder in Mexico of two U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agents.

Carbajal-Flores was indeed a commander of an armed assault team in the Los Zetas cartel. The conviction was overturned on appeal. Still, not a person most folks would invite to Sunday dinner.

“The Court finds that Carbajal-Flores’ criminal record, containing no improper use of a weapon, as well as the non-violent circumstances of his arrest do not support a finding that he poses a risk to public safety such that he cannot be trusted to use a weapon responsibly and should be deprived of his Second Amendment right to bear arms in self-defense,” wrote Judge Coleman.

If this man can possess a firearm, a handgun, it will be difficult to deny any American a firearm. 

Let’s return to the FOID violation. Under State of Illinois law, a FOID card shall not be issued to a person if he or she is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States under the laws of the United States. It is a felony under Illinois law, punishable by one to three years in the state penitentiary to knowingly transfer, or be involved in the transfer of any firearm, ammunition, stun gun, or taser-type weapon unless the transferee displays a currently valid FOID Card. Carbajal-Flores did not possess a FOID card. Will this ruling negate the Illinois law? 

Army Bob Traxler

Illinois in general and Chicago in particular have some of the most draconian restrictions on firearms in our nation. This case has holes in it you can drive a truck through. If an appeals judge rules that this illegal migrant can possess a firearm, it can be extended to strike down many Illinois laws.

The progressive/conservative movements are torn in this case; giving illegal immigrants’ rights under our Constitution pleases some. However, allowing anyone to own a weapon other than the government flies in the face of progressive thought and a desire to see the Bill of Rights ignored or revoked.

The First and Second Amendments are particularly troublesome to the progressive movement. The conservative side is pleased that the Second Amendment is expanded, but not happy to see illegals have constitutional rights seemingly not available to many Americans. 

It will be interesting to see if this case is appealed to the United States Supreme Court and how a divided court interprets our Constitutional Rights. My opinion.


  • RMT,

    This certainly highlights the complexity of reality, and the fallibility of the legal system.

    Consistency in enforcement of laws is of course crucial to the effectiveness and credibility of our system. Most believe that the “spirit of a law” should dictate the outcome, often technicalities win out. In my view this potentially speaks more to the inherent potential for corruptness, or buying power in the legal system.

    I can not help but wonder if this is due to the financial resources available to cartel members. Most average violent criminals can not afford the appeal process. The system has shown time and again that it is not only two tiered, it effectively has a sliding scale contingent on financial resources.

    Personally, I blame the environment of manipulation established by the unlimited funds of corporate scofflaws. We accept the subversion in the business world, in result it trickles down to other crimes.

  • Illegal aliens have no rights. They are not citizens. But President Biden is counting on their illegal votes!

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