- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha man has lost his federal challenge to the constitutionality of a Nebraska law that bars felons from possessing deadly weapons.

U.S. District Judge John Gerrard in Lincoln dismissed Wa’il Muhannad’s lawsuit last week. Among other things, Gerrard found that Muhannad failed to present facts backing up his assertion that the law was too vague.

Muhannad’s attorney, Travis Penn, said Monday that Muhannad was disappointed by the dismissal and was strongly considering an appeal. A spokeswoman for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson declined to comment.

Muhannad became a felon in the 1980s following convictions on weapons charges and for filing false information to federal officials.

In 2006, he started a halal meatpacking business, which requires the slaughtering and processing of animals to meet Muslim standards. Penn said he discovered five years later that he couldn’t legally have a knife with a blade longer than 3.5 inches because he’s a felon. His lawsuit over the issue wasn’t filed until July last year, however, because he’d been serving prison time since 2011 for false imprisonment.

Muhannad said in his lawsuit that the law regarding the knives was too broad and violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. He also argued that the law infringed on his ability to practice his religion. Penn said the law didn’t take into account legitimate uses for knives.

Gerrard rejected Muhannad’s Second Amendment claim, in part, because “the Supreme Court’s recent Second Amendment decisions do not cast doubt on the constitutionality of felon-in-possession statutes.”

He also said Muhannad’s practice of Islam may require him to eat halal food, “But he does not allege that to be an observant Muslim, he must operate a halal slaughterhouse.”


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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