USA v. Kevin Dugan
FILED OPINION (DIARMUID F. O'SCANNLAIN, SUSAN P. GRABER and CARLOS T. BEA) AFFIRMED Judge: SPG Authoring, FILED AND ENTERED JUDGMENT. 
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
KEVIN V. DUGAN,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California
Ronald M. Whyte, Senior District Judge, Presiding
Argued and Submitted
August 8, 2011—San Francisco, California
Filed September 20, 2011
Before: Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, Susan P. Graber, and
Carlos T. Bea, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by Judge Graber
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UNITED STATES v. DUGAN
Eugene G. Illovsky, Palo Alto, California, for the defendantappellant.
UNITED STATES v. DUGAN
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Merry Jean Chan, Assistant United States Attorney, San Francisco, California, for the plaintiff-appellee.
GRABER, Circuit Judge:
We consider the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3),
which makes it illegal for “any person . . . who is an unlawful
user of or addicted to any controlled substance . . . to ship or
transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or
affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive
any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.” Reviewing de
novo, United States v. Vongxay, 594 F.3d 1111, 1114 (9th
Cir.), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 294 (2010), we uphold the statute against this Second Amendment challenge.1
Defendant Kevin Dugan illegally grew and sold marijuana.
He also smoked marijuana regularly. When police officers
responded to a report of domestic violence at his home one
afternoon, they discovered his marijuana operation and
arrested Defendant. Because Defendant also had a business of
dealing in firearms, a jury convicted him of, among other
things, shipping and receiving firearms through interstate
commerce while using a controlled substance, in violation of
 Defendant argues that § 922(g)(3) runs afoul of the
Second Amendment because it deprives him of his constitutional right “to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 592
(2008). But, in Heller, the Supreme Court instructed that the
Second Amendment right “is not unlimited.” Id. at 626. In
We reject Defendant’s other challenges to his conviction in a separate
memorandum disposition filed concurrently with this opinion.
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UNITED STATES v. DUGAN
particular, the Court told us that “nothing in [its Heller] opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions
on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,
or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places
such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing
conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of
arms.” Id. at 626-27. Two of our sister circuits have taken that
statement to mean that § 922(g)(3), which embodies a longstanding prohibition of conduct similar to the examples mentioned in Heller, permissibly limits the individual right to
possess weapons provided by the Second Amendment. United
States v. Yancey, 621 F.3d 681, 687 (7th Cir. 2010) (per
curiam); United States v. Seay, 620 F.3d 919, 925 (8th Cir.
2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 1027 (2011). We agree.
 Like our sister circuits, we see the same amount of danger in allowing habitual drug users to traffic in firearms as we
see in allowing felons and mentally ill people to do so. Habitual drug users, like career criminals and the mentally ill, more
likely will have difficulty exercising self-control, particularly
when they are under the influence of controlled substances.
Moreover, unlike people who have been convicted of a felony
or committed to a mental institution and so face a lifetime
ban, an unlawful drug user may regain his right to possess a
firearm simply by ending his drug abuse. The restriction in
§ 922(g)(3) is far less onerous than those affecting felons and
the mentally ill. Yancey, 621 F.3d at 686-87. Because Congress may constitutionally deprive felons and mentally ill people of the right to possess and carry weapons, we conclude
that Congress may also prohibit illegal drug users from possessing firearms.
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