Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7th Circuit Upholds Ban on Firearms for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Convictions

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled en banc today that a person convicted of a misdemeanor for domestic violence is prohibited from possessing firearms. The case, United States v. Skoien, came to the 7th Circuit on appeal from the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. By their ruling, the 7th Circuit en banc upheld the Lautenberg Amendment and overturned the earlier decision by a 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit which held that the prohibition on possession was not categorical.

Josh Blackman in his blog has an extensive analysis of this case. He thinks that there will be significant ripples from this case and that it could easily head to the Supreme Court as there is some disagreement among the various Circuit Courts on the legitimacy of Lautenberg.

The dissent by Judge Sykes is important because he felt it the burden should be on the government "of justifying the application of laws that criminalize the exercise of enumerated constitutional rights. We should follow that norm, not pay lip service to it." I'm sure it will be quoted in the future.

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