Emmanuel Huitron-Guizar, 24, pleaded guilty to being an illegal immigrant in possession of firearms after his 2011 arrest in Wyoming. He was subsequently sentenced to serve 11 months at the Natrona County Detention Center.
Acting on a warrant, federal agents searched Huitron-Guizar's home last year and found a rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a semi-automatic pistol and charged him with illegal weapons possession.
The attorney for Huitron-Guizar appealed the case, arguing illegal immigrants should have the same rights as U.S. citizens to purchase and own guns for hunting and personal protection.
This week, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver agreed with the original prison sentence imposed by a Wyoming federal judge, ruling illegal immigrants may be prohibited from possessing firearms under laws passed by Congress that bar certain groups from gun ownership.
In its opinion, the Court further ruled even non-citizens in the United States on legitimate visas face similar restrictions on firearms possession and ownership.
"Even those admitted on non-immigrant visas ... are prohibited from having firearms and ammunition unless they secure a special waiver or happen to be hunters or diplomatic or law-enforcement officials here on business," the three-judge panel wrote.
Huitron-Guizar's attorney, Ronald Pretty of Cheyenne, Wyo., says he plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.