In Gun-Rights Test, Court Upholds Domestic Violence Convictions


In a case closely watched by gun rights advocates nationwide, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has reinstated the convictions of a Wisconsin man for possessing a hunting shotgun while on probation for domestic violence, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The ruling, by a divided court, upholds a categorical exception for some misdemeanants from full 2nd Amendment rights, and is likely to generate more challenge to the 1996 law at issue, in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gun rights.

Steve Skoien had been sentenced to two years in federal prison when a three-judge panel overturned his conviction and sent the case back for prosecutors to show a tighter nexus between a lifetime ban on gun possession and reducing domestic gun violence. But the 7th Circuit agreed to rehear the case en banc, and this time, the whole court came out the other way — except for Sykes, who wrote an 18-page dissent. Skoien had argued that the 1996 federal law that prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence of ever possessing a gun for any reason violated his 2nd Amendment rights, as highlighted in the 2008 U.S. Supreme court ruling that struck down Washington D.C.’s ban on handguns.

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