In a landmark ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that lifetime bans on gun ownership for individuals convicted of domestic violence are not a violation of the 2nd Amendment.
Daniel Chovan of California was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offence in 1996. He did not include his conjviction in an application to buy a gun in 2009, which triggered an FBI alert.
The FBI found Internet footage of Chovan shooting guns, and conducting armed, unauthorised, vigilante “border patrols” along the US-Mexico border. He had also threatened to track down and shoot his now ex-wife if she left him. A search of his home revealed four guns, as well as 500 rounds of ammunition. This led to criminal charges being brought against Chovan relating to the omission of his domestic violence conviction on his application.
In court, Chovan and his lawyers argued that a federal ban on firearm ownership for those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors was a violation of his constitutional rights. The court disagreed.
Speaking for the court Judge, Harry Pregerson said:
“The government has demonstrated that domestic violence misdemeanants are likely to commit acts of domestic violence again and that, if they do so with a gun, the risk of death to the victim is significantly increased.”
The ruling is the latest step in the evolution of the courts’ treatment of domestic violence. Originally, the federally-mandated lifetime ban on gun ownership applied only to those convicted of violent felonies. The law was updated in 1996 to include those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, since they are the most comment violent crimes committed in victims’ homes.
Under California law, Chovan would have been banned from firearm ownership for only ten years, but the 9th Circuit’s ruling supersedes state law, meaning that Chovan will be banned from owning any firearms for the rest of his life.
h/t: Opposing Views