Supreme Court Upholds Gun Ban for Domestic Violence

Supreme Court Upholds Gun Ban for Domestic Violence

The Supreme Court ruled Monday upholding a federal law that prohibits those convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms, according to Fox News.

The 6-2 decision, in which the court found that unintended reckless assault should be considered a misdemeanor crime worthy of restricting gun ownership, is a major victory for both domestic violence advocacy groups and gun control advocacy groups.

Both defendants in the case were found guilty of misdemeanor domestic assaults in Maine and both presented separate arguments to the high court: one argued that the ban violates their constitutional right and the other that only domestic assault offenses that were intentional should count for the gun prohibition. However, the court decided to only rule on the second argument about intent.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor (a very unlikely pair) dissented with the ruling, arguing that such a broad interpretation that overlooks intent is unjust.

“[T]he majority fails to explain why mere recklessness in creating force—as opposed to recklessness in causing harm with intentional force—is sufficient,” Thomas writes.

“Reckless assault,” he continues, “extends well beyond intentional force that recklessly causes injury.”

In his final dissenting argument, and the one that no one else on the court agrees with, Thomas writes that the federal law is already very broad, and it “imposes a lifetime ban on gun ownership for a single intentional nonconsensual touching of a family member. A mother who slaps her 18-year-old son for talking back to her—an intentional use of force—could lose her right to bear arms forever if she is cited by the police under a local ordinance. The majority seeks to expand that already broad rule to any reckless physical injury or nonconsensual touch. I would not extend the statute into that constitutionally problematic territory.”

The domestic abuse issue aside, this ruling is yet another attack that strips people of their Second Amendment rights. Regardless of the issue, do we really want to live in a country that suspends Constitutional rights over a misdemeanor crime? Weigh in below.

You can read the court’s entire opinion in Voisine v. United States here.

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