So this dumb motherfucker Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif from the United Arab Emirates came to the United States to study at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) on a student visa. I say dumb, because FIT dismissed him for academic achievement issues, which loosely translates to “he was a dumb motherfucker.”
Once he was sent packing from FIT, he was no longer a student, and thus no longer eligible for a student visa, and it was revoked accordingly by the government. We’ll assume he was not notified in any way, because that’s the crux of this case.
During his time here though, Rehaif embraced his inner American, because he headed to the shooting range for a little good ole American shoot ’em up, rented a gun, and bought some ammo to do so. So while the 2nd amendment guarantees a right to bear arms to all Americans, it doesn’t guarantee such a right to immigrants, especially for ones who’ve overstayed their visa.
The statute 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2) in question uses the term “knowingly” to charge someone with the crime of possessing a firearm, and doing so while being here illegally. It says:
Whoever knowingly violates subsection (a)(6), (d), (g), (h), (i), (j), or (o) of section 922 shall be fined as provided in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
So the argument at hand, was this action of going to a shooting range, which is otherwise a perfectly normal thing to do here, all of a sudden a ten year crime, and if so, does the United States have to know Rehaif both know he had a gun and/or ammo on his possession (That sounds silly, but someone could have left one in his home for instance, without him knowing), and he knew his visa had been revoked.
SCOTUS opted to say knowingly means just what the fuck you think it means—the government has to have evidence he knew he was in the wrong, and did it anyway. Or contrary to what cops say when you get a ticket, ignorance is an excuse.
7:2 Decision for Rehaif’s ignorant and stupid ass. Alito and Thomas dissented, arguing that ignorance isn’t an excuse. A crime is a fucking crime.
Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.