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Civil Rights – ADA – Gun Ownership – Mental Disability

Plaintiff alleges that he was denied the right to purchase a firearm when a background check, which was mandated by South Carolina law, indicated that he has a mental illness. These allegations do not relate to a public program or service; therefore, they do not state a claim under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed without prejudice.

Plaintiff has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. He alleges that on or about Jan. 15, 2018, he was subjected to a background check incident to purchasing a firearm and was denied the firearm as a result of his mental illness, which he refers to as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Plaintiff alleges the background check is mandated by South Carolina law, and he asserts that in denying “mentally disabled persons” from purchasing firearms, the state violates Title II. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages only.

Title II only bars states from discriminating against the disabled by excluding them from participation in or denying them the benefits of public programs and services. 42 U.S.C. § 12132.

Plaintiff’s right to the enjoyment of or participation in gun ownership is grounded in the Second Amendment, not through an activity, service, or program funded by the state. Accordingly, his allegations cannot give rise to a Title II violation.

Furthermore, plaintiff seeks only monetary damages. Compensatory damages are not available under Title II absent a showing of discriminatory intent. The complaint sets forth no allegations of discriminatory intent.

Dismissed without prejudice.

Brown v. State of South Carolina (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-201-18, 5 pp.) (Seymour, J.) 3:18-cv-01196. D.S.C.


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