So let’s say you are a person who abuses your spouse, but only in the teeniest tiniest way. And let’s say you plead guilty, just to put that whole mess behind you. That shouldn’t stop you from your God-given right to amass a veritable armory of guns at the house, should it? HELL TO THE NO. This is ‘Merica, and if you beat your wife just a little bit, you should still have a gun, right? But America is crumbling, thanks to those Supreme Court activist judges, who held today that even if you feel like your misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence was no big deal, it still stops you from owning a gun, because Congress said so. WHAT IS THIS COUNTRY COMING TO??
Let’s let someone else lawsplain a little bit about what happened here.
A Tennessee man once convicted of injuring his girlfriend must face weapons charges based on a federal law that includes him as a domestic abuser, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
While felons have long been barred from possessing guns, many perpetrators of domestic violence are convicted only of misdemeanors, the court noted. Their crimes meanwhile often escalate in severity over time, and the presence of a firearm increases the chances of a homicide.
Congress sought to close this loophole in gun-control laws with Section 922(g)(9) of Title 18 – forbidding the ownership of firearm making it a crime for anyone convicted of “a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”
Federal authorities sought to prosecute James Alvin Castleman under this law, among others, in 2008 based on evidence that he was selling firearms on the black market.
Congress is grabbing your guns, goddammit. And that is not fair to one James Alvin Castleman, who argued that the domestic violence charge he pled to years ago didn’t include an element of physical force or injury, so come on man give him the guns already.
Seriously, how rotten a person do you have to be that you go all the way to the Supremes under the theory that your spousal abuse THAT YOU PLED GUILTY TO wasn’t violent enough to stop you from owning guns THAT YOU SELL ON THE BLACK MARKET!! That is the very definition of a terrible person, and definitely the kind of person who should not really own an arsenal. But that was exactly the argument Castleman made.
Congress’ definition of domestic violence includes a requirement that there be physical force, and this is where the dispute arose in this case. Castleman argued that the sort of “physical force” envisioned by the federal statute was more violent than that in the Tennessee statute to which he pled guilty, and therefore did not bar him from owning a gun under federal law.
Liberal lady Justice Sonia Sotomayor was having none of that business.
In rejecting this argument, Sotomayor recognized the unique nature of domestic violence, and concluded that the “violence” necessary to have perpetrated the offense against an intimate partner is much different than what would apply to public violence against a stranger.
“Indeed, ‘most physical assaults committed against women and men by intimates are relatively minor and consist of pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting,’” Sotomayor wrote, quoting a Department of Justice report. […] But an act of this nature is easy to describe as ‘domestic violence,’ when the accumulation of such acts over time can subject one intimate partner to the other’s control.
All nine Justices concurred with the ruling that barred Castleman from owning a gun, but you will not be even a little bit surprised to learn that Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas, the terrible trio, wrote separately to whine about how you should really have to be pretty super violent to your spouse to get dinged with the charge of domestic violence.
The amicus brief provides a series of definitions—drawn from law-review articles, foreign-government bureaus, and similar sources—that include such a wide range of nonviolent and even nonphysical conduct that they cannot possibly be relevant to the meaning of a statute requiring “physical force,” or to the legal meaning of “domestic violence” (as opposed to the meaning desired by private and governmental advocacy groups). For example, amici’s definitions describe as “domestic violence” acts that “humiliate, isolate, frighten, . . . [and] blame . . . someone”; “acts of omission”; “excessive monitoring of a woman’s behavior, repeated accusations of infidelity, and controlling with whom she has contact.” Brief for National Network to End Domestic Violence et al. as Amici Curiae 5–8, and nn. 7, 11. The offerings of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women are equally capacious and (to put it mildly) unconventional. Its publications define “domestic violence” as “a pattern of abusive behavior … used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another,” including “[u]ndermining an individual’s sense of self-worth,” “name-calling,” and “damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.”
Actually, Justice Scalia, you cold-hearted dickhead, most people — including law enforcement! — have determined that those things are indeed domestic violence because when someone lives with you/has a kid with you/is financially dependent upon you and you ensure they can’t reach out to their family or friends or leave the house and you scream at them irrationally and lock them in the house, that is actually some fucked up domestic interplay, and since we have not invented some other word for that sort of behavior, domestic violence it is, fucker.
Even though we still want Scalia to shut the hell up, preferably forever, we have to give the whole Court credit for their shocking gun-grabbing Second Amendment-violating decision. Cue so much NRA butthurt and lobbying that Congress will probably change this law soon and pass something that says that if you are convicted of abusing your spouse, you actually get a free gun upon your exit from prison, just because. But for now, let’s celebrate the fact that there is at least one person in America — James Castleman — who can’t have a gun.