United States: Supreme Court Upholds Firearm Ban for Domestic Violence Offenders
Friday, July 1, 2016 2:40 PM

In a recent 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court held that a federal law banning domestic violence offenders from owning guns applies to persons convicted of “reckless” assault under state statutes. Petitioners argued that the ban only applied to knowing or intentional violations of domestic violence laws. However, the Court determined that Congress intended the ban to apply to any person who used force against a domestic partner and that, “a person who assaults another recklessly uses force no less than one who carries out that same action knowingly or intentionally.” Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have similar misdemeanor domestic violence laws that can trigger the gun ban. The Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment Appeals Project said the Supreme Court’s ruling was important because “[s]eemingly minor acts . . . are usually part of a ‘long-standing pattern of terror enforced through coercive control.’”

Compiled from: Marimow, Ann, Supreme Court: Domestic abusers can be banned from owning firearms, The Washington Post (June 27, 2016).