Court Ruling Prohibits Gun Ownership if Conficted of Domestic Violence Misdemeanor

The Supreme Court ruled on an expansive reading of the…

The Supreme Court ruled on an expansive reading of the federal law that prohibits firearm possession by anyone arrested for a misdemeanor involving domestic violence.  The decision comes after a 7-2 vote in the United States v. Hayes case of which West Virginia resident Randy Hayes was prosecuted and stripped of his rights to own a gun based on a 1994 state conviction on charges of battery, where his victim was his wife.

Hayes appealed the court’s decision in 1996 and claimed that since the crime was simple battery, and was not specific to battery against a family member, it should not have triggered the firearm possession law.  Hayes won the appeal, but because the language used in the provision is so subjective, consistent interpretation by judges has been difficult to obtain in rulings.

After attracting attention in last year’s D.C. v. Heller case, The Second Amendment Foundation filed a brief in the Hayes case, urging the Court to adopt the narrower interpretation and to allow states leeway in defining crimes.  Tuesday’s ruling, however, narrowed the interpretation to include misdemeanor charges involving domestic violence.

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  • Anonymous

    When this law was originally passed, lots of police officers lost their jobs as a result because they had been involved in DV offenses themselves and had plead them down to misdemeanors such as battery and disturbing the peace. Once this law kicked in, they were prohibited persons and could not work (because they couldn’t have a gun or ammunition).

    So now.. I guess this means that if the police show up because of a mere shouting match and list it as Per Domestic Violence, these prohibitions will kick in. Even worse, in places where police must make an arrest if responding to a DV complaint, you could actually be had because your neighbor doesn’t like you (your dog barks) and calls in a complaint that you are screaming at your spouse, or that he saw you hit them.

    For example, in many jurisdictions, a patrol officer responding to a DV complaint cannot adjudicate in the field. They must call in a supervisor and someone has to be arrested (this is supposed to create a cooling off period). For those of us who are gun owners (to the max in most cases), no good can come from the police coming to your home. In many areas , the police are also required to remove any firearms from the home. In other words, when responding to a DV call (and several others, by the way, under the health and safety statutes) the police may enter and search the home without warrant for the purpose of seizing any weapons.

    Everyone is at risk of losing their guns over this one… especially if you have an unhappy spouse…