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Domestic violence and firearm ownership

California residents may be interested in a case that went before the U.S. Supreme Court in February in which attorneys for two men who were charged with violating the Lautenberg Amendment argue that they should never have lost their rights to own a gun in the first place. The Lautenberg Amendment says that anyone who is convicted of domestic abuse is no longer able to own a gun. It does not matter whether the charge was a misdemeanor or a felony.

However, legal counsel for the men say that their actions were reckless as opposed to intentional, which should be considered a less serious offense. The argument is that those who commit physical abuse in the heat of the moment are less likely to commit that act again compared to those who intentionally hurt their partners. Those who analyze statistics related to domestic abuse claim that no one with a previous conviction for such a crime should have a gun.

Those with a history of violence are five times more likely to kill their victims if they are allowed to own a gun, according to the National Institutes of Health. The Lautenberg Amendment was passed in 1996 as part of the Gun Control Act to ensure that domestic abuse was taken as seriously as other forms of crime against individuals.

Victims of domestic abuse may want to have legal assistance in attempting to obtain a protective order, which may keep their abuser away from them as well as their children. An attorney could also be of assistance in attempting to strip perpetrators of their parental rights in the event of a subsequent divorce.

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