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Junior Butt Warmer
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Junior Butt Warmer
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Thomas had asked the attorney defending the conviction of the two men whether any other misdemeanor conviction could cause a defendant the loss of "a constitutional right." Thomas has been known as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment guarantee of a right "to keep and bear arms."
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The plaintiffs in this case, Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong, both of Maine, had pleaded guilty in state court to misdemeanor assault charges after slapping or shoving their romantic partners.
I do not know the facts of the case. The circumstances are unknown to me. BUT do we really imagine that the Founding Fathers, including those state legislators and anti-federalists and others that were insisting on an express right to bear arms in a bill of rights, those who wrote and ratified the same, would countenance a lifetime bar to exercising such a right because at some point in the past a man had "shoved" a woman with whom he was cohabitating?
 

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From the opinion, the actual question that was being decided. This is important. Pay attention to the wording.
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.
We then determined that “the knowing or intentional application of [such] force is a ‘use’ of force.†Id., at ___ (slip op., at 13). But we expressly left open whether a reckless assault also qualifies as a “use†of forceâ€"so that a misdemeanor conviction for such conduct would trigger §922(g)(9)’s firearms ban. See id., at ___, n. 8 (slip op., at 11, n. 8). The two cases before us now raise that issue.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-10154_19m1.pdf
 

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From Thomas's dissent (Sotomayor did not join in this section of the dissent).

Section 922(g)(9) is already very broad. It imposes a lifetime ban on gun ownership for a single intentional nonconsensual touching of a family member. A mother who slaps her 18-year-old son for talking back to her-an intentional use of force-could lose her right to bear arms forever if she is cited by the police under a local ordinance. The majority seeks to expand that already broad rule to any reckless physical injury or nonconsensual touch.
 

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traditionally, states have imposed narrow limitations on an individual’s exercise of his right to keep and bear arms, such as prohibiting the carrying of weapons in a concealed manner or in sensitive locations, such as government buildings. Id., at 626â€"627; see, e.g., state v. Kerner, 181 n. C. 574, 578â€"579, 107 s. E. 222, 225 (1921). But these narrow restrictions neither prohibit nor broadly frustrate any individual from gener- ally exercising his right to bear arms.
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to be constitutional, therefore, a law that broadly frustrates an individual's right to keep and bear arms must target individuals who are beyond the scope of the "people" protected by the second amendment.

Section 922(g)(9) does far more than "close [a] dangerous loophole" by prohibiting individuals who had committed felony domestic violence from possessing guns simply because they pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. Ante, at 1 (internal quotation marks omitted). It imposes a lifetime ban on possessing a gun for all nonfelony domestic of- fenses, including so-called infractions or summary offenses. §§921(a)(33)(a)(ii), 922(g)(9); 27 cfr §478.11 (2015) (de- fining a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to include crimes punishable only by a fine). These infractions, like traffic tickets, are so minor that individuals do not have a right to trial by jury. See lewis v. United states, 518 u. S. 322, 325-326 (1996).

Today the majority expands §922(g)(9)'s sweep into patently unconstitutional territory. Under the majority's reading, a single conviction under a state assault statute for recklessly causing an injury to a family member-such as by texting while driving-can now trigger a lifetime ban on gun ownership. And while it may be true that such incidents are rarely prosecuted, this decision leaves the right to keep and bear arms up to the discretion of federal, state, and local prosecutors.

We treat no other constitutional right so cavalierly. At oral argument the government could not identify any other fundamental constitutional right that a person could lose forever by a single conviction for an infraction pun- ishable only by a fine.
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Great quote from Thomas:

I have little doubt that the majority would strike down an absolute ban on publishing by a person previously convicted of misdemeanor libel. In construing the statute before us expansively so that causing a single minor reckless injury or offensive touching can lead someone to lose his right to bear arms forever, the Court continues to "relegat[e] the Second Amendment to a second-class right."
 

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yep

Yep, that's a great quote.
And, it's good to point out that the question of how the 2nd Amendment applies, or does not apply, to convicted criminals WAS NOT THE QUESTION BEFORE THE COURT. This case was NOT about whether the Second Amendment doesn't apply to people with violent misdemeanors. The Court just assumed it did, based on numerous lower courts deciding so (like the famous EMERSON case from the 5th circuit some dozen years ago), and then went on to really did into the NARROW ISSUE specific to Maine's battery law and what level of "mens rea" or criminal intent must be proven to obtain a conviction.

Yes, in a general sense this case cements in place the doctrine that the 2A only applies to law-abiding people, and criminals can be excluded from its protections.

But the only HOLDING of the case--the part that must be followed by other courts and is almost always going to be followed by future Supreme Court opinions-- is about criminal intent and what it means to "use" violence versus cause a violent incident through reckless conduct.
 

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Constitutional issues: I think that SOME domestic violence offenders, whose crimes were mild to moderate in severity and happened long ago, to a victim that he has long since reconciled with (many people with D.V. convictions are STILL MARRIED, happily married and living together, many years after that incident), OR to a victim that he has long since parted ways with and has not had any contact with in years...

.... THOSE OFFENDERS (convicts) have a Second Amendment right to petition to get their gun rights back.

That's what the 6th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals said last year with regards to the lifetime ban on guns for anybody who was ever committed to a mental health facility.
These people MUST have the right to have their cases and their current state of mental health re-evaluated years later to see if they can still be presumed dangerous, as they were in the past.

See TYLER v. HILLSDALE Co. SHERIFF'S Dept.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/...gles-with-mental-health-limit-to-own-guns.htm
 

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Junior Butt Warmer
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Malum Prohibitum said:
BUT do we really imagine that the Founding Fathers, including those state legislators and anti-federalists and others that were insisting on an express right to bear arms in a bill of rights, those who wrote and ratified the same, would countenance a lifetime bar to exercising such a right because at some point in the past a man had "shoved" a woman with whom he was cohabitating?
No. I do not imagine the Founders would have countenanced such a thing. I believe they would have considered such a thing to be both not Constitutional as well as morally unjust.

They had the stocks back then. Spending a couple hours or an afternoon in them fully paid one's societal debt. That was the POINT.

There was none of this "...I remember you being in the stocks for a few hours about ten years ago... that is on your permanent record and you will never fully be a citizen ever again..."
 

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I do not know the facts of the case. The circumstances are unknown to me. BUT do we really imagine that the Founding Fathers, including those state legislators and anti-federalists and others that were insisting on an express right to bear arms in a bill of rights, those who wrote and ratified the same, would countenance a lifetime bar to exercising such a right because at some point in the past a man had "shoved" a woman with whom he was cohabitating?
Unless we have some documentation, it would be speculation. Not sure any of them would come to the defense of a man that was cohabitating with a woman he was not married to. That would have been quite a scandal in the upper echelons of 18th century society which is where many of the framers resided. A mistress is one thing, but not something you acknowledge in court, yes?

Then you'd have to look at the idea of domestic violence, and what was accepted, as in not a state concern.
 
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