Gun ownership for domestic abusers has been a hot button issue for years. Now, the U.S Supreme Court has handed down an important decision by refusing to loosen the federal gun ban on people who have domestic assault convictions.
It’s an important decision for Texas. A recent study in QZ.com, found between 28 and 39 percent of households have a gun in Texas. The Lone Star state is about half-way down the national table. Southern states including Louisiana and Mississippi have higher levels of household gun ownership. Texas has one of the most liberal open carry laws in the U.S.
This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to loosen federal restrictions that mean people with domestic assault convictions are unable to lawfully own guns. The 6-2 ruling is a victory for advocates of gun control who are stepping up their efforts after this summer’s horrific Orlando nightclub shooting.
A report by VOA News noted how it followed appeals from two men in Maine . They were found guilty of misdemeanor domestic assaults after hitting their partners.
The federal law has been in place for 20 years. It makes it illegal for anyone with a domestic violence conviction from possessing a gun. The definition includes the use or the attempted use of force and covers simple assault as well as assault and battery misdemeanors. Even if a statute fails to specifically use domestic violence wording, any person convicted of a misdemeanor assault against their spouse can be charged if they own or possess a firearm.
Domestic Abusers in Maine Argued Against Gan Ban
In the Maine case, the defendants tried to claim they were not subject to the ban. They said they struck their partners in the heat of the moment, and their behavior was not premeditated.
However, the Supreme Court rejected their arguments and reaffirmed the gun ban. The justices said the definition of “misdemeanor crime of violence” had no opt-out clause for reckless rather than intentional behavior.
Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the majority opinion. She said Congress supported the gun ban law 20 years ago because legislators wanted to close a loophole and prohibit domestic abusers from possessing guns.
The justice said changing the law to allow people who acted recklessly to own firearms would undermine the law.
Texas has a wide range of domestic abuse laws on its statutes. Domestic abuse laws apply to offenses against spouses, former spouses or other family members. See more details of the domestic assault laws of Texas here on our website.
If you are charged with a domestic abuse crime or possession of a firearm as a domestic abuser, it’s important that you know your rights. Contact Peek & Toland here for help.