Monday, March 4, 2013

War vet to fight court ruling to strip him of gun rights

by Anthony Martin

A Vietnam war veteran declared Monday that he will fight a decision by a federal appeals court that upheld a lower court ruling stripping him of his Second Amendment right to self-defense with firearms. The veteran's wife provided extensive details of her husband's ordeal to the Examiner on Monday.

Jefferson Wayne Schrader of Cleveland, Ga. is a Navy veteran who in 1968 was convicted of a misdemeanor after engaging in a fist fight following an attack by a street gang while stationed in Annapolis, Md. It so happened that a police officer saw Schrader throw a punch, after which he was placed under arrest and charged with misdemeanor assault. He spent one night in jail and was fined $100.

Schrader then served his country in the Vietnam War. Years later, according to his wife Harriet Baldwin, he began to suffer from the ill effects of Agent Orange. Baldwin told the Examiner Monday that her husband suffered two heart attacks as a direct result of Agent Orange contamination, which left him in an irreversibly weakened condition. Hunting is his only source of enjoyment and physical activity.

And since Schrader is a lifelong hunter, Baldwin stated that she attempted to buy him a lighter weight shotgun due to his weakened condition. But after his background check a notice came from the FBI stating that there was a problem. They asked that Schrader be fingerprinted to clear up any possible mixup.

Then the notice came that the reason Schrader was being denied the right to purchase and own the shotgun was due to a felony conviction in Maryland in 1968.

But Schrader had never been charged with a felony but a misdemeanor over a fist fight with a street gang. It turns out that Maryland had changed its laws since 1968, meaning that anyone charged with an assault misdemeanor would be treated as if they had been convicted for a felony and given a sentence of two years in jail.

Thus, what had been a simple misdemeanor in 1968 became a felony in 2013, and now not only is Schrader being treated as a convicted felon but he can be denied his gun rights based upon that felony.

Schrader appealed the decision but lost in a federal appeals court on Jan. 11.

Alan Gura, the winning attorney who successfully argued two landmark gun rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the Court's affirmation of individual gun rights, is serving as Schrader's attorney. Gura expressed deep disappointment in the appeals court ruling and vows that he will fight it.

In the meantime, a U.S. war veteran whose body is suffering from the ravages of his own government's poor tactics during the Vietnam war, is being denied the simple right of owning a hunting shotgun due to a fist fight in 1968.

These outrageous acts of tyranny by a government that no longer recognizes nor respects the gun rights of average citizens is the reason firearms rights activists say that the nation stands on the brink of outright civil war.

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