Sounds ridiculous- but it's true.
The soon to be 65 year old Vietnam Veteran, Jefferson Schrader was stationed at the Naval Base in Annapolis, Maryland before he served in his country in Vietnam and was honorably discharged.
One night, Schrader and several other sailors were walking back to the base, when they were "jumped" by 9 or 10 members of a street gang. The sailors had their arms pinned behind there backs and were unmercifully beaten with fists, ball bats and chains. Schrader ended up on crutches and another man was hospitalized with a concussion.
Some time later, Schrader spotted one of his attackers on a street corner in Annapolis and confronted him. The intent, according to Schrader, was to talk to the assailant- and take him in for a "citizen's arrest" - bringing the attack to the attention of the local authorities. The street thug, who outweighed the sailor by 50 pounds or more, responded: "You came back for more of this?" With that- rose up, about to strike Schrader once more. But Schrader saw the blow coming- and punched the guy in the nose. (The only punch thrown).
Unfortunately for Schrader, two policemen witnessed the punch and arrested him for misdemeanor assault. Once in front of the Judge- he was asked what happened and answered truthfully. The Judge responded "Well, you can't take the law into your own hands, young man."
Schrader was found guilty of a misdemeanor. Fined $100 and $9 court costs- and released.
He went on to serve his country in Vietnam for 21 months, achieved expert marksman status and - was doused with the defoliant spray Agent Orange on several occasions.. At one point, he was on a barge that had exploding tanks of fuel and Agent Orange - and helped man the hoses to extinguish the flames and barrels of Agent Orange and gasoline, which were blowing up. These sailors are now referrred to as "Brown Water Navy."
After his service in Vietnam, he returned to the states and settled in Florida. An avid hunter and fisherman, Schrader had owned many sporting guns and never had a problem purchasing any weapons.
That is, until 2008.
By that time, Schrader had been diagnosed with Agent Orange related Ischemic heart disease and had suffered two major heart attacks. He had moved to North Georgia and hunting and fishing were still favored pastimes. However, the 12-gauge shotgun he had was quite heavy, so his companion purchased a lighter weight 20 gauge, shorter barreled shotgun.
After the purchase, he was contacted by the FBI and told that the NICS background check had turned up some type of identity problem and they asked for Schrader to send in a card with a set of his "rolled" fingerprints. He had no problem with that. After all, he WAS in the military, so the government had his prints. No problem.
Ahh- but there WAS a problem.
Seems that the state of Maryland changed their law. In 1968, there was no "cap" on a misdemeanor charge. But the language was changed in 1993 - so that he COULD have gotten a two year prison term for that "punch in the nose" back in 1968. So for all intents and purposes, his $109 misdemeanor had been turned into a felony- and as such- he has stripped of his Second Amendment Rights.
Even the Georgia ATF Agent- who came to explain the situation to Schrader- was shaking his head in disbelief. The agent had been notified and spent two weeks trying to find out how this could possibly be happening- but to no avail.
Schrader brought his plight to the attention of attorney Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation- champions for gun rights and most notably the Heller case in Washington, D.C. and McDonald case in Chicago. See the Second Amendment Foundation's statement on Schrader vs. Holder here.
Recently, the D.C. Circuit ruled against, Schrader, which was a huge disappointment to him- and similarly situated American veterans and other citizens who's gun rights have been taken.
In a recent interview, aired on America's Newsroom with Megyn Kelly in the "Kelly's Court" segment, Schrader expressed his sadness at the situation, describing it as "demoralizing."
UPDATE: You can see Jefferson Schrader's Monday morning interview with Grtchen Carlson of "Fox And Friends HERE
Alan Gura has filed to have Schrader's case heard again in the lower court. And has insisted that the fight will continue.
Known as "J.W."- we thank this Veteran for his service.
And would also like to wish him the best of luck with THIS fight- to regain his Second Amendment Rights.
Maybe the Court of Public Opinion will prevail where the judicial system has seemingly failed.
God bless you "J.W."
UPDATE: You can see Jefferson Schrader's interview with Gretchen Carlson on "Fox and Friends" HERE
(Full Disclosure: The writer of this article is the aforementioned "companion" of Jefferson Schrader and has personal knowledge of the facts of this case.)
You can follow this writer on Twitter @Harriet Baldwin