On Monday, June 27, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court Ruled in a 6 – 2 vote to uphold the federal government’s prohibition of persons convicted of domestic abuse from legally obtaining a firearm.
SCOTUS holds that domestic violence conviction is misdemeanor crime of violence for purposes of limiting access to firearms
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 27, 2016
“This was the case of two Maine men who were convicted on state domestic violence charges and then found with firearms and charged with violating a federal law that prohibits domestic abusers from having firearms,” SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe wrote in the live blog. “The question was whether their convictions qualified under the statute.”
This decision is bound to leave the National Rifle Association fuming quietly, as they’ve not been very public about their defense of domestic abusers obtaining guns. However, the NRA’s actions have spoken loudly enough.
In May, the NRA managed to force State Rep. Helena Moreno (D-LA) to strip language from her domestic violence bill that would expand the definition of domestic abuse victims.
The provision allowed those accused of abusing “dating partners” to face the same domestic abuse battery charges as “household members.” Kim Sport, the chairwoman of the United Way of Southeast Louisana Public Policy Committee, said that she was informed that the NRA “didn’t want to increase the pool of people who will dispossessed of their firearms.”
“It is a sad place in Louisiana where we allow a special interest group to say who will or will not be a victim of a certain crime under our statutes,” Sport said.
However, the NRA tried to twist logic in an attempt to cover its real motivation for opposing the provisions, greed. The NRA said:
“The NRA agrees that more can be done to protect victims of domestic abuse from their violent abusers, but HB 488 is so overly broad that it could make a felon out of a girlfriend who pulls a cell phone from her boyfriend’s hand against his will.
If the sponsor of the bill is serious about preventing domestic violence, she should focus on the provisions of the bill that would deter domestic abusers like better enforcement of restraining orders and increased penalties for people who violate restraining orders.”
Also in 2013 the NRA opposed the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013, introduced by Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The organization sent out letters urging senators to vote against the bill. The bill aimed to prohibit people of stalking and domestic violence from buying guns. Incredibly, in the letter, the NRA managed to defend the criminal act of stalking somehow.
“‘Stalking’ offenses do not necessarily include violent or even threatening behavior,” the letter claims. “Under federal law, for example, stalking includes ‘a course of conduct’ that never involves any personal contact whatsoever, occurs wholly through the mail, online media, or telephone service, is undertaken with the intent to ‘harass’ and would be reasonably expected to cause (even if it doesn’t succeed in causing) ‘substantial emotional distress’ to another person.”
The last action taken on this bill, also known as S.1290 was to hold hearings by a committee on the judiciary on July 30, 2014. Since then, the bill has stalled.
Thankfully the U.S. Supreme Court made the right decision, and now the NRA has to find another criminal market to exploit. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to be tough. But for now, let’s celebrate a great victory for common sense, which will always spit in the face of the NRA.