BREAKING NEWS: SCOTUS says domestic violence offenders can’t buy guns

Posted on 27 Jun 2016 at 12:52pm

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Even though congressional Republicans’ refusal to act last week means that suspected terrorists on the U.S. no-fly list can still buy guns, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today (Monday, June 27), people convicted of domestic violence cannot legally buy guns.

The ruling came in the case Voisine v. the United States, in which two Maine men convicted on state domestic violence charges were later found with firearms and charged with violating a federal law that prohibits domestic abusers from having firearms, according to Amy Howe with SCOTUSblog. “The question was whether their convictions qualified under the statute,” Howe wrote.

Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong, the two plaintiffs in the case, had argued that their state domestic violence convictions didn’t automatically qualify as misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence because the state-law provisions “can be violated by conduct that is merely reckless, rather than intentional,” Howe explained. But the court ruled that “A reckless domestic assault qualifies as a ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; … . That conclusion follows from the statutory text. Nothing in the phrase ‘use . . . of physical force’ indicates that [the statute] distinguishes between domestic assaults committed knowingly or intentionally and those committed recklessly.”

Read the complete opinion here.

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