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Gun Ban Applies To Domestic Batterers, U.S. Supreme Court Decides

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 5:42 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Domestic Violence, Gun Violence, Violence Against Women, Battery, Personal Injury, U.S. Supreme Court

Domestic batterers cannot own guns says U.S. Supreme Court. 



IMAGE SOURCE: iStockPhoto / author: Stockphoto4u


People guilty of domestic violence misdemeanors should not be allowed to possess guns. 

That decision was issued by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. The high court was trying to decide whether someone convicted of simple battery, a misdemeanor, should be blocked from gun possession, just as is someone convicted of domestic violence.  A domestic violence gun ban was enacted in 1996.

Many state laws against battery do not mention domestic violence, but the argument is that simple battery may be committed against a spouse, child, or relative. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with the government’s decision that battery, a misdemeanor, should apply to domestic relationships, even if the person was not convicted of that offense. She wrote the 7-2 decision.

The case was brought to the high court by lawyers for batterer, Randy Edward Hayes.  In 1993, he pled guilty to slapping his then-wife, a misdemeanor battery charge. 

A decade later, police responded to a domestic assault again involving Hayes, who this time was alleged to have struck his girlfriend. Police found an unloaded rifle under his bed. 

He was later charged with lying about the gun and domestic battery.  Because the domestic battery charge was eventually dropped, Hayes’ lawyers argued that he couldn’t be convicted of possessing a weapon because there was no domestic battery element. 

In their dissenting vote, Justices Roberts and Scalia found the federal law was ambiguous because gun and domestic violence laws vary from state to state.  Many states prosecute domestic violence as simple assault and battery, which would allow gun ownership. A felony conviction automatically triggers a gun ownership ban.

The Court essentially reversed a decision that favored Hayes in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that, which had it not been overturned, would have allowed convicted spouse abusers in about two dozen states to rearm themselves.

"In its first gun case since the landmark Heller decision, the Court wisely upheld this reasonable restriction," said Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence President Paul Helmke. "Today's ruling is the right one for victims of domestic abuse and to protect law enforcement officers who are our first responders to domestic violence incidents."

Eagle Forum spokesperson Phyllis Schlafly spoke to CNN defending Hayes saying,  "Why are men with clean histories except for one domestic dispute punished like hardened criminals who mug strangers on the street?" wrote Phyllis Schlafly. She wrote a brief in support of Hayes and continues, "The answer is that the feminist agenda calls for domestic-violence laws to punish husbands and fathers above and beyond what can be proven in court under due-process procedures." 

Meanwhile, in San Diego County, 5,000 officers will receive additional training in domestic violence response in case there is an escalation as a result of the downturn in the economy.  #


Anonymous User
Posted by Robert Snyder
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 7:40 PM EST

Bring on the civil war...its time to throw these tyrants out. King George is starting look like a regular guy. 2nd Amendment what 2nd amendment?

Anonymous User
Posted by cucarache
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:35 AM EST

Oh, lord. I'm a handgun owner myself, but I don't think it's a good idea for people who beat up on others within their own homes to have guns at their ready disposal. If you wish to empower such animals, perhaps you'd like to bring back slavery, too?

Anonymous User
Posted by Fred
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 4:56 PM EST

The question isn't about gun rights or victim rights, it's about due process. The picture is that people are beating up their wives or girlfriends and that's bad. But the reality is that when they were convicted prior to the enactment of this law, nobody told them that they would be giving up their gun rights forever. Further, many are cops or Military and are, in essence, being fired... again, without due process.

Anonymous User
Posted by Lovely
Thursday, February 26, 2009 7:01 PM EST

The right to bear arms is not an absolute right. It is a privilege. Violent people should not enjoy this privilege at the expense of their victims. That's just immoral.

Anonymous User
Posted by eJack - To Lovely
Thursday, February 26, 2009 8:11 PM EST

Put down the cool aid. Gun owner ship is not only a right, it is a right not to be infringed. It's kinda like not abridging the freedom of speech. In fact those are the words used in that pesky little piece of paper so many seem to despise.

If a woman feels uncomfortable with a domestic abuser owning a gun she can take some responsibility and leave. There is nothing that forces the woman to stay. She can even take the kids, sue for alimony and get her own gun to blow his head off if he shows up again (that is if her right to gun ownership isn't infringed by a waiting period and she gets killed first in which case her family can send the funeral bill to the Brady Campaign along with a thank you note for making the world safer).

I'm not rooting for wife beaters. I'd assume cut their genitals off, nail their fingers to a tree and brand their forehead, but since that isn't constitutional either, I settle for a jail sentence and having the book thrown at them if the wife is smart enough to leave before getting beat to death (for which no gun is needed by the way).

Anonymous User
Posted by joshua joshua
Thursday, April 16, 2009 5:27 PM EST

The government has really done me in on this subject. I am a married father of two and i work as a firefighter for the department of defence. I would go as far to say that i am considered far from a violent man by the everyone i know. Ten years ago my ex-girlfriend broke into my house. I came home to find her throwing my clothes out a window. Did i deserve it? probably. I had kicked her out the week before. When i confronted her she began theowing things at me. I chased her out of the house and threw a boot at her when she was running for the door. Never the less the cops came and charged me with "simple assualt" because she was leaving and possed no real threat to me.
I was not told in court that i was giving up gun rights. Now the only thing on my record prevents me from purchasing a firearm. That seems like an unfair shake of the dice for me. I am very upset how the law makers have twisted the second amendment for there own agenda.

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