The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments as it struggles to determine whether domestic violence offenders could be barred from possessing a firearm even if they have only committed minor offenses.

The high court’s nine justices took up the case of James Castleman, who argues that his domestic assault conviction in Tennessee for intentionally or knowingly causing “bodily injury” to the mother of his child did not prohibit him under federal law from owning a gun.

Investigators later learned that he was illegally trafficking guns, and Castleman was charged with violating a ban on gun possession for people convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

One of the guns Castleman trafficked was found at the scene of a crime in Chicago.

But an appeals court said the federal law only bars people from carrying a gun when they have committed domestic violence using physical force.

So the Supreme Court justices spent most of the hearing trying to define what type of domestic violence could trigger a federal conviction for gun possession, in contrast with actions that only cause injury.

“If I punch somebody in the nose, is that violence?” asked Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Do you have to have a special rule for if I punch my wife in the nose?

“Any physical action that hurts somebody is violence, isn’t it?”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked: “How about pinching or biting, hair pulling, shoving, grabbing, hitting, slapping… Would they in all situations be violence?”

The decision by the highest court in the land, expected in June, could have a major impact, especially if it questions existing federal law, which is stricter than most state gun possession laws.

The federal law “was enacted to protect battered women and children and to close a dangerous loophole… that allowed domestic abusers to possess firearms,” said Melissa Sherry, an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general.

Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have proposed to boost criminal background checks for gun purchases.

AFP Photo/Mark Wilson

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

FBI attack suspect Ricky Shiffer, right, and at US Capitol on January 6, 2021

(Reuters) - An armed man who tried to breach the FBI building in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday was shot dead by police following a car chase, a gun battle and a standoff in a cornfield northeast of town, officials said.

Police had yet to identify the dead man and during a pair of news briefings declined to comment on his motive. The New York Times and NBC News, citing unnamed sources, identified him as Ricky Shiffer, 42, who may have had extreme right-wing views.

Keep reading... Show less

Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

Federal agents were searching for secret documents pertaining to nuclear weapons among other classified materials when they raided former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, according to a new report.

Citing people familiar with the investigation, the Washington Post reported on Thursday night that some of the documents sought by investigators in Trump’s home were related to nuclear and “special access programs,” but didn’t specify if they referred to the U.S. arsenal or another nations' weapons, or whether such documents were found.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}