FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After firing a weapon while working at a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale, Mohammed Al-Ghool didn't injure anyone. But because he is undocumented, he was arrested and could spend time in a federal prison.
Al-Ghool, 50, was working behind the cash register when a coworker walked into the crowded store on April 13. Broward Sheriff's Office deputies said the two got into an argument. Al-Ghool allegedly threw merchandise at him, took out a gun and shot at the ceiling directly above the man's head.
Federal prosecutors say they are able to file criminal charges because undocumented immigrants don't have Second Amendment rights. About six years ago, a federal appeals court ruled that undocumented migrants can be prohibited from possessing firearms and even non-citizens with legitimate visas face restrictions.
Courts have disagreed on the matter. In a similar case, Javier Perez fired shots into the air to scare away gang members who were fighting in Brooklyn. He didn't hurt anyone but like Al-Ghool, he also faced a federal gun charge. His attorney is holding onto a 2008 ruling that the Second Amendment doesn't disqualify the undocumented population's gun rights.
U.S. Marshals arrested Al-Ghool May 22, and deputies booked him to the Joseph V. Conte Facility in Pompano Beach. There was enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty on Thursday of a charge of illegal alien possessing a firearm affecting interstate commerce.
Al-Ghool could face 10 years in prison. U.S. District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas is scheduled to sentence him on Oct. 10. He will be turned over to immigration officials for deportation proceedings at the end of his prison term.
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