Ex-Iowa City gang member sues to regain gun rights

August 17, 2023 by No Comments

An individual from Iowa City who had been found guilty of gang-related crimes over three decades ago is currently taking legal action against the governor’s office, asserting that his right to possess a firearm has been unfairly taken away.

Anthony Browne, aged 52, has filed a lawsuit against Governor Kim Reynolds and Johnson County Sheriff Brad Kunkel in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

Browne argues that his previous convictions for a violent offense should not have led to a permanent deprivation of his Second Amendment right. He contends that his criminal sentences were fully served 25 years ago, and for the past 18 years, he has had his other civil rights reinstated.

According to Browne, in 1991, he was found guilty of committing a felony willful injury and participating in criminal gang activities. He was sentenced to a decade in prison for the first charge and five years for the latter, with both sentences to be served concurrently.

During his incarceration at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Browne began pursuing correspondence courses offered by the University of Iowa. Upon completing his sentence in January 1998, then-Governor Tom Vilsack issued an executive order in July 2005, reinstating all of Browne’s citizenship rights except for his ability to purchase, carry, or possess firearms. In that same year, Browne achieved a degree in computer science from the UI.

Since 2006, Browne asserts that he has maintained full-time employment and has been an eligible voter in Johnson County. Between April 2019 and December 2021, he also held a high-level security clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense for his computer-related work at Collins Aerospace.

Browne faced charges of aiding and abetting attempted murder, willful injury, and participation in criminal gang activities. Although he was cleared of the aiding and abetting charge, he was found guilty of the other two counts.

Browne explains that he desires the restoration of his rights for the same reasons that many others might seek them: for hunting, home defense, and recreational target shooting.

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