Supreme Court upholds gun ban for domestic violence offenders

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

WICHITA, Kan.-- On Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld and clarified the federal law that bans guns from domestic violence offenders.

The Supreme Court ruled that a federal law barring people convicted of minor domestic violence offenses from possessing guns can be enforced even in states where no proof of physical force is required to support the domestic violence charge.

"This is a victory for domestic violence survivors," said Joyce Mahoney, program director for Catholic Charities Harbor House.

On Wednesday, the justices reinstated charges against a Tennessee man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault in 2001. He was then charged in 2009 with illegal possession of a firearm.

Lower courts threw out the gun charge because Tennessee law does not require physical, or violent, force to have been used in misdemeanor domestic assault.

The Supreme Court reversed that decision in an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

In 1996, Congress expanded a ban that applied to individuals who had been convicted of a domestic violence felony to include misdemeanor convictions.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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