U.S. Supreme Court Ruling On Domestic Violence & Gun Control Stirs Debate

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling On Domestic Violence & Gun Control Stirs Debate

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gun control stirs debate among local officials. The court ruling came this week, after two men from Maine were upset that their misdemeanor domestic assault convictions meant they could not own firearms.

The Supreme Court ruling included interpretations of the law that worry at least one Four State sheriff.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on preventing certain people from possessing guns was two-fold. First, the court decided to uphold a federal law, enacted in 1996, that bans a person convicted of domestic violence from having a gun.

“To me, that’s just another step by the gun grabbers to control our firearms,” says Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland.

Copeland says the government had enough gun control laws years ago.

“If they never made another gun law right now, it’s OK,” says Copeland.

Copeland says there will still be domestic violence or worse.

“People have been killing each other with knives and clubs since the beginning of time. It’s all how you’ve been educated, how you’ve been brought-up,” says Copeland.

But workers at Joplin’s Lafayette House, a domestic violence victims’ advocacy group, think differently.

“Perpetrators of domestic violence who have a conviction, yeah, if they have a gun in the house, I think the chances are higher that they’re going to use it again,” says Louise Secker with the Lafayette House.

The reason why the base of the Supreme Court’s ruling is being debated is because the court also said misdemeanor domestic violence convictions, like slapping, hitting, choking, or grabbing hold of someone, are enough for a gun ban.

The court, in a new assessment of the law, said it doesn’t matter if the violence was reckless as opposed to intentional.

“I don’t see the end result reaching what they’re trying to do with this,” says Copeland.

Copeland says he has never been asked by any court to uphold federal law and confiscate guns from a person convicted or felony domestic abuse.

Workers at the Lafayette House say local state governments should take the federal rule and transfer it to local law, too.

“I think it all comes down to having rules and laws on the books that our local law enforcement is able to enforce,” says Secker.

Some states out of the Four State area already have domestic violence gun laws matching the federal level.

Workers at the Lafayette house say soon, cases of domestic abuse will be heard in county court, instead of municipal court if the alleged crime happened in a city. Lafayette House workers say that will help ensure the fairness and accuracy of domestic violence convictions.

More background on the Supreme Court’s ruling can be found here and here.