High Court Expands Reach Of U.S. Law on Guns, Domestic Violence


The Supreme Court today expanded the reach of a 1996 federal law that bars possession of guns by a person convicted of a domestic violence crime that was a misdemeanor, reports ScotusBlog. The court said the law applies whenever the battered victim was in fact the wife or other family relative of the offender. While such a domestic relationship must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, it is not a necessary element of the crime, the decision found.

“It suffices for the government to charge and prove a prior conviction that was, in fact, an offense committed [] against a spouse or other domestic victim,” said the court in a 7-2 opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who returned to the bench yesterday several weeks after undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, voting to uphold a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that had thrown out a conviction under the law.

Comments are closed.