In a 6-2 decision on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Voisine v. United States that domestic abusers cannot purchase guns.
The official SCOTUS blog twitter page tweeted the following after Monday morning’s decision.
SCOTUS holds that domestic violence conviction is misdemeanor crime of violence for purposes of limiting access to firearms
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) 27 June 2016
Essentially, the court has ruled that those convicted of misdemeanor violent crimes, such as domestic abuse, should not be able to purchase guns.
“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,” wrote Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog. “The question was whether their convictions qualified under the statute.”
The question came down to an issue of “recklessness”. This issue lead Justice Clarence Thomas to ask his first question on the bench in ten years.
Thomas asked if “recklessness” was enough to warrant a “lifetime ban on possession of a gun, which, at least as of now, is a constitutional right.”
Justice Thomas dissented with the ruling along with Justice Sonia Sotomayor who dissented in part.
The core of the Supreme Court’s decision came down to whether or not “recklessness” was indeed enough to ban the purchase of firearms.
“The question presented here is whether misdemeanor assault convictions for reckless (as contrasted to knowing or intentional) conduct trigger the statutory firearms ban. We hold that they do,” the decision reads. “Reckless conduct, which requires the conscious disregard of a known risk, is not an accident: It involves a deliberate decision to endanger another,” the decision goes on to say.