Johnson v. United States
(opposing view that mere possession of a firearm can constitute a violent felony)

admin Firearms Law

Johnson is a firearms case involving the issue of whether mere possession of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun qualifies as a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act.  The definition of violent felony includes crimes that run the serious risk of injuring another.

CLDEF filed an amicus curiae brief which argued that simply possessing a shotgun — no matter what its barrel length — runs no risk of injury to anyone.  CLDEF further argued that firearms are not inherently dangerous, and short-barreled shotguns have many legitimate uses, including for self defense, and many are lawfully registered and possessed.

On June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court reversed the lower courts’ imposition of an increased sentence on the basis of the unconstitutionally vague definition of the violent felony statute.

CLDEF Amicus Curiae Brief (July 3, 2014)

SCOTUSblog Case Page

Oral Argument (November 5, 2014) transcript

U.S. Supreme Court opinion