United States Supreme Court Upholds Gun Ban for Domestic Abusers
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 9:15 AM

On 24 February 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision upholding a 1996 amendment to the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, which bars those convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" from owning guns. The case, United States v. Hayes, considered whether the rule preventing gun ownership applies to domestic abusers convicted under general assault/battery laws, or if the ban only applies to those convicted under specific domestic violence laws.

In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that it was not required that a domestic relationship be a specific element of the crime. Rather, the Court determined that the ban can apply to individuals convicted under general assault/battery laws, so long as a domestic relationship between the offender and the victim is proven. 

This decision, as articulated by its author, Justice Ginsburg, recognizes that "Firearms and domestic strife are a potentially deadly combination nationwide."

Compiled from: United States v. Hayes, 555 U.S. ____ (2009); Robert Barnes, Justices Uphold Ban On Guns for Abusers, The Washington Post (25 February 2009); Supreme Court: No Guns for Abusers, Family Violence Prevention Fund (27 February 2009); Supreme Court Ruling Reinstates Gun Ban on Abusers, Feminist Majority Foundation (25 February 2009).