On the Voisine v. United States Ruling

[Content Note: Guns; domestic violence.]

Yesterday, the Supreme Court also ruled on Voisine v. United States, a case which centered around whether a misdemeanor crime with the mens rea of recklessness qualifies as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence," for the purpose of limiting access to guns.

This case was remarkable in that the oral argument saw Justice Clarence Thomas asking his first question from the bench in a decade.

He was dubious about a misdemeanor charge being used to encroach on what he views as the Constitutional right for private citizens to own guns.

Ultimately, however, the Court held that a domestic violence conviction is indeed a misdemeanor crime of violence for the purpose of limiting access to guns.

Hillary's plan of action on gun violence includes advocacy to "no longer allow guns to fall into the hands of domestic abusers." And there is good reason for that:
Domestic violence in America is to a significant degree a problem of gun violence. Over the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides in the U.S. have been committed with guns than with all other weapons combined. And people with a history of committing domestic violence are five times more likely to subsequently murder an intimate partner when a firearm is in the house.

At the same time, an astonishing share of gun violence in America is driven by domestic violence. More than half of women murdered with guns in the U.S. in 2011 — at least 53 percent — were killed by intimate partners or family members. And research by Everytown for Gun Safety establishes that this is also true for mass shootings: in 57 percent of the mass shootings between January 2009 and June 2014, the perpetrator killed an intimate partner or family member.
Preventing the purchase of firearms by people who have committed domestic violence is a crucial safety issue for women, in particular. It was a pretty excellent day at the Court for women.

(I don't get to say that very often!)

My colleague at BNR, Eric Kleefeld, has more on Voisine v. United States: "Supreme Court: Yes, We Can Stop Domestic Abusers Having Guns."

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