Saturday, September 13, 2008

Judge upholds gun ban for misdemeanor domestic violence conviction

A federal judge in Wisconsin has upheld the ban on gun possession by those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, despite the Supreme Court's ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms:
The ban on possession of firearms by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence is constitutional.

In one of the first challenges to the validity of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark holding in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008), U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb held that Heller does not affect the validity of the prohibition.

Judge Crabb reasoned, “These persons have shown that it is they and not any outside intruders that pose the greater danger to their families.”
Crabb concluded, “the Court’s statement about ‘longstanding prohibitions on arms possession by felons’ is an explicit recognition of the fact that persons may forfeit their Second Amendment right to bear arms along with other rights when they commit serious crimes. Congress has made the judgment that one of those ‘serious crimes’ is domestic violence serious enough to result in a misdemeanor conviction.”

Crabb declined to decide what level of scrutiny applies to Second Amendment challenges, finding that, even under the highest level, the statute passes muster.

Before concluding, Judge Crabb noted that the Seventh Circuit has upheld the statute against constitutional challenge (albeit before Heller) in Gillespie v. City of Indianapolis, 185 F.3d 693 (7th Cir. 1999), and that remains binding on district courts in the circuit.

Article here. We'll have to wait and see whether the defendant pursues an appeal of the judge's decision, although, as noted in the article, a pre-Heller decision of that region's appeals court upheld the constitutionality of the statute.

No comments: