Domestic Violence Gun Ban Upheld By Supreme Court
Supreme Court Upholds Wide Reach of U.S. Gun Ban for Domestic Violence
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the broad reach of a federal law that bars people with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from owning guns.
The justices rejected arguments that the law covers only intentional or knowing acts of abuse and not those committed recklessly — where a person is aware of the risk that an act will cause injury, but not certain it will. As examples, the court mentioned throwing a plate in the heat of an argument, or slamming a door.
The case involved two Maine men who said their guilty pleas for hitting their partners should not disqualify them from gun ownership.
Writing for herself and five other justices, Justice Elena Kagan said that Congress enacted the gun law some 20 years ago to close a loophole and “prohibit domestic abusers convicted under run-of-the-mill misdemeanor assault and battery laws from possessing guns.” She said if the law were read to exclude misdemeanors in which a person acted recklessly, it would “substantially undermine the provisions design.”
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