This morning in Voisine v. United States, the United States Supreme Court ruled that domestic violence perpetrators are prohibited from owning firearms. Justice Elena Kagan wrote the a 6-2 decision:
The federal ban on firearms possession applies to any person with a prior misdemeanor conviction for the “use . . . of physical force” against a domestic relation. §921(a)(33)(A). That language, naturally read, encompasses acts of force undertaken recklessly—i.e., with conscious disregard of a substantial risk of harm. And the state-law backdrop to that provision, which included misdemeanor assault statutes covering reckless conduct in a significant majority of jurisdictions, indicates that Congress meant just what it said. Each petitioner’s possession of a gun, following a conviction under Maine law for abusing a domestic partner, therefore violates §922(g)(9). We accordingly affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
Thank you, Justices Kagan, Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Alito.
“The Deadly Mix of Guns and Domestic Violence,” New York Times editorial opinion, 7/1/16