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WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the use of a federal law barring people convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning guns, the first firearms case at the high court since last year's decision in support of gun rights.

The court, in a 7-2 decision, said state laws against battery need not specifically mention domestic violence to fall under the domestic violence gun ban that was enacted in 1996.

It is enough, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her majority opinion, that the victim of such a crime be involved in a domestic relationship with the attacker.

"Firearms and domestic strife are a potentially deadly combination nationwide," Ginsburg said.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia dissented in the case of Randy Edwards Hayes, a West Virginia man whose earlier misdemeanor conviction for beating his wife gave rise to a federal felony indictment for gun possession.

The federal government, gun control groups and women's rights advocates worried that a ruling for Hayes would have weakened the federal law because about half the states, including West Virginia, do not have specific misdemeanor domestic violence laws.

"If the case had gone the other way, there are thousands of people who currently are prohibited from buying guns who would have been allowed to buy guns. Women in abusive situations would have been more at risk. Police officers responding to domestic violence calls would have been more at risk," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The case turned on whether the conviction for domestic violence that leads to the gun ban can be under a generic law against the use of force. Or, must the state law be aimed specifically at spousal abuse or domestic relationships.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled in favor of Hayes because the West Virginia state law on battery under which he was convicted did not contain specific wording about a domestic relationship between the offender and the victim.

Nine other appeals courts rejected that interpretation.

There was no dispute, however, that the victim was his wife in 1994.

Ten years later, police summoned to Hayes' home in response to a domestic violence 911 call found a Winchester rifle belonging to Hayes. They later discovered that he had possessed at least four other rifles after the 1994 case.

He was indicted on federal charges of possessing firearms after the conviction of misdemeanor domestic violence, a reference to the 1994 case.

Excluding domestic abusers who are convicted under generic laws "would frustrate Congress' manifest purpose," Ginsburg said. The law's main sponsor, New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, said in 1996 that people who abuse their spouses and children often are not charged with felonies or are allowed to plead to lesser crimes, sometimes because relatives are unwilling to press more serious charges.

In dissent, Roberts said the federal law is ambiguous and that the case should have been resolved in Hayes' favor. "Ten years in jail is too much to hinge on the will-o'-the-wisp of statutory meaning pursued by the majority," Roberts said.

People on both sides of the gun debate were watching the Hayes case to see if it implicated the court's ruling last year that individuals have a constitutional right to guns.

But there was no mention of District of Columbia v. Heller in either the majority opinion or the dissent.
 

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I might be naive, but does anybody see a problem with this?
 

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YEA I do.
 

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I might be naive, but does anybody see a problem with this?
someone invariably will.
 

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YEA I do.
You would like those that violently attack family members to be legally able to own guns?
 

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Doesn't this basically uphold the federal law that if you have been convicted of a domestic assault charge you are prohibited from owning a firearm? That law may not be federal, but I do know that it is TN state law.

Firstly, I despise domestic abusers, whether they be men or women, women can be the abuser also. I was taught never to hit a man, woman, or child, unless it is in self defense, or the defense of another who can not defend themselves, such as a child. People who feel the need to make themselves feel bigger, stronger, or better by physically, mentally, emotionally, or sexually abusing another who is weaker, should be locked up with a big ole bull-queer named Bubba, or butch **** named Bubbette. They should not be allowed to own a firearm.

If a mentally unstable person such as this were to be able to legally obtain, and own, a firearm, the victim would be put into a position of extreme vulnerability and danger. Who's to say that the abuser won't go back to his old ways and decide that his victim should pay for getting him/her arrested, convicted, imprisoned, etc.

This is purely my opinion. You are 100% free to disagree with me, that is your prerogative.
 

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Doesn't this basically uphold the federal law that if you have been convicted of a domestic assault charge you are prohibited from owning a firearm? That law may not be federal, but I do know that it is TN state law.

Firstly, I despise domestic abusers, whether they be men or women, women can be the abuser also. I was taught never to hit a man, woman, or child, unless it is in self defense, or the defense of another who can not defend themselves, such as a child. People who feel the need to make themselves feel bigger, stronger, or better by physically, mentally, emotionally, or sexually abusing another who is weaker, should be locked up with a big ole bull-queer named Bubba, or butch **** named Bubbette. They should not be allowed to own a firearm.

If a mentally unstable person such as this were to be able to legally obtain, and own, a firearm, the victim would be put into a position of extreme vulnerability and danger. Who's to say that the abuser won't go back to his old ways and decide that his victim should pay for getting him/her arrested, convicted, imprisoned, etc.

This is purely my opinion. You are 100% free to disagree with me, that is your prerogative.
x2.
 

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YEA I do.
You would like those that violently attack family members to be legally able to own guns?
Didn't say that but I can see this ruling changing into something else. Going into a circle and coming back out as shooting someone in your home in self defense and well, use your imagination.

We already have laws on the books against DV's buying guns or owning guns. Enforce those, don't add to it. Anyone, man or woman that wants to do violence will do it. BG's have a way of getting what they need to do their deeds.
 

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YEA I do.
You would like those that violently attack family members to be legally able to own guns?
Didn't say that but I can see this ruling changing into something else. Going into a circle and coming back out as shooting someone in your home in self defense and well, use your imagination.

We already have laws on the books against DV's buying guns or owning guns. Enforce those, don't add to it. Anyone, man or woman that wants to do violence will do it. BG's have a way of getting what they need to do their deeds.
That's not what's happening here from my understanding. It seems that there is no federal law in place for domestic violence convicts, only felons.

also, domestic violence isnt "violence in the home", it's violence against someone in your family.
 

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also, domestic violence isnt "violence in the home", it's violence against someone in your family.
It doesn't have to be a family member. Doesn't it include boyfriends/girlfriends? I thought it was anyone that a person has a relationship with. Domestic violence can extend to telling an a-hole friend that your are going to kick their a**, or threatening someones ex-spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend.

That's my understanding anyway. I may be wrong, I'm only human after all.
 

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also, domestic violence isnt "violence in the home", it's violence against someone in your family.
It doesn't have to be a family member. Doesn't it include boyfriends/girlfriends? I thought it was anyone that a person has a relationship with. Domestic violence can extend to telling an a-hole friend that your are going to kick their a**, or threatening someones ex-spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend.

That's my understanding anyway. I may be wrong, I'm only human after all.
hmmm, quite possible, here's the wiki definition, though of course the legal definition could be different

Domestic violence (also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, or intimate partner violence) occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners. Domestic violence occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexes and classes can be perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by both men and women.
 

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It vary's from state to state I am sure on the legal definition. In Arizona if you have ever lived with someone then you can be charged for domestic violence against that person.
 

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My concern is the ability to revoke your 2nd amendment rights for a misdemeanor. You don't generally go to jail for those, but you can lose your constitutional rights? That doesn't seem right. Speeding tickets in some states are misdemeanors, does that mean that some retarded state legislator in someplace like Maryland or California will get a law passed there that if you have ever had any criminal record you cannot own a gun? Its a slippery slope, and I loathe that term.
 

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Make sure both parties have equal firepower and let's see if there's a repeat offense. If I knew someone who was a victim of such things I would give or buy them a gun (assuming such was not prohibited by law) and make sure they knew how to handle it. Frankly, I'd rather see a law that said the abuser had to pay for the abused to purchase a good gun, a thousand rounds of ammo and tuition to a CCW/CHL class.
 

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The Federal laws in question are the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 and the 1997 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act which expanded VAWA and the Brady Bill. These statutes relate specifically to domestic violence statutes as enacted by the individual State legislatures. In the State of Tennessee, it comes into play with respect to TCA 39-13-111 Assault (Domestic Violence). In order to fall under the DV umbrella, there must be a familial relationship between perpetrator and victim, which for the purposes of the statute include blood relationship (also includes adoption), marital relationship (including former spouses), dating relationship, and/or cohabitation. It applies equally to same-sex relationships, as well as children or relatives of persons who fall into one of the above categories (for instance, if your wife's brother gets into a fistfight with your sister's roommate, then technically the statute applies).

When I was a prosecutor, there was also a Vandalism (DV) statute that also applied. If you, say, got ticked at your college roommate for drinking all of your beer and threw his lava lamp through the window of your dorm room, you could technically be banned from ever owning a firearm (cohabitation doesn't require a sexual relationship in TN, just that two people share a residence). I do not know if this act has been repealed or not since I left the DA's office.

Personally, I think that if a person uses a weapon or threatens use of a weapon in a domestic situation, the court should have the option, upon conviction, of revoking the perp's 2A rights. The blanket mandate for the statute to apply in all assaults committed in a domestic situation, however, I believe, violates due process. This is especially true considering that in TN, assault is defined as "placing another in reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily injury," which means that if I threaten to punch you in the face, and you believe I mean it, I have assaulted you under the statute. And if you think that cases like this never go to court, I assure you that you would be horribly mistaken. I have seen men stripped of their 2A rights for just such utterances.
 

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My concern is the ability to revoke your 2nd amendment rights for a misdemeanor. You don't generally go to jail for those, but you can lose your constitutional rights? That doesn't seem right. Speeding tickets in some states are misdemeanors, does that mean that some retarded state legislator in someplace like Maryland or California will get a law passed there that if you have ever had any criminal record you cannot own a gun? Its a slippery slope, and I loathe that term.
And there is a vast difference in most anyone's opinion between domestic violence and speeding(unless you are speeding because you are truly mad at your car, and kicking the hell out of it while speeding).

Myself, I agree with a law limiting the rights of a person found guilty of domestic violence, I can't abide a coward that beats the hell out of a woman. My theory is that they do it because they really want to beat down someone, but are too much of a coward to take on an equal sized male. I have seen way too many women get beaten by these bozos, and if I wouldn't go to jail for it, I'd show the little turds what it feels like to get beaten myself.
 

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I have to agree with the big court on this one. The victim of the original crime was his wife, therefore it was a DV crime. It doesn't matter how you narrowly define the term in an individual state. The court's intpertration seems to be that his particular crime would be considered a crime of domestic violence under the laws of most sates and would therefore fall under the federal law.

I also agree with the number of opinions that have stated that a person who would abuse a family member should not have access to guns.

There's far too much DV out there now. A decision the other way could have been the springboard for all sorts of DV perps to get their 2nd amendment rights back by claiming some sort of loophole in the law based on its wording.
 

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Hell, when we passed the Defense of Marriage act in Ohio a few years back (one man-one woman), these jerks who had beat their live-in girlfriends tried to use that to avoid prosecution for beating down the women. I'd like to shoot the damned idiots myself. Probably not to kill, just wound them real good so they could suffer.
 
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