9 months ago
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday ruled [opinion, PDF] 6-2 in Voisine v. United States [SCOTUSblog materials] that a state law conviction on reckless domestic assault is sufficient to bar possession of a firearm under federal law. Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong had pleaded guilty to violating a Maine statute [text] that makes it a misdemeanor to “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause[ ] bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person.” When later investigations revealed that both men were in possession of firearms, they were charged and convicted under a federal law [18 U.S.C. § 922 text] that prohibits any person convicted of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from possessing firearms and ammunition. On appeal, the petitioners argued that, because their domestic violence convictions were based on recklessness, and not intentional or knowing conduct, they were insufficient to support the federal charge. Focusing on the meaning of “use … physical force,” the Supreme Court disagreed and upheld the convictions. Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan found that
… the word “use” does not demand that the person applying force have the purpose or practical certainty that it will cause harm, as compared with the understanding that it is substantially likely to do so. Or, otherwise said, that word is indifferent as to whether the actor has the mental state of intention, knowledge, or recklessness with respect to the harmful consequences of his volitional conduct.
So it isn’t really just physical force that’s included under the rubric of domestic violence, but it expands to “intent” and a substantial likelihood. You don’t reckon that this will be abused by angry spouses looking to get even or inflict emotional injury do you? You don’t reckon that “domestic abuse” will become the new crime applied to virtually every gun owner who has a domestic squabble, do you?
And as for prohibiting gun ownership for such things as the perceived “intent” to do harm, any present or future spouse is affected in a similar way as the “criminal.” Remember that a felon or person found guilty of domestic “abuse” cannot just not own guns, he cannot even be around others with guns. That means that homes are left unprotected, including spouses who never had anything to do with this whole mess to begin with. It’s called the law of unintended consequences. Or perhaps the Supreme Court intends this outcome, and if so, isn’t that a pretty picture, ladies?
Dear reader, as you know from previous posts, do not ever talk to the police. And make sure that you and your family are on good terms, know and understand each other, and know and understand the threat that the state poses. Do not ever turn to the state for protection, guidance or justification.