The United States Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, laid down the law on domestic abusers Monday, saying that those who abuse at home shouldn’t own a gun.
A good idea. Someone with a history of beating their spouse or significant other should not have easy, legal access to a tool that will inflict even more harm on their victims.
Just last year, questions over letting domestic abusers not only only have guns but also have the right to carry them concealed that started the debate late last year over Virginia’s move to eliminate reciprocity for concealed guns with other states that allowed those who with convictions for domestic abuse.
I admit rage over three specific crimes: Sexual abuse of children, domestic abuse and any form of rape. I put the abuser of a wife who was a friend of my wife, Amy, in the hospital. My lesson to him was a broken jaw, dislocated shoulder and more than a few scrapes and bruises. I got a lecture from one of the Commonwealth’s Attorneys in Northern Virginia for my actions but no charges were filed.
It was interesting that one of the two dissenting votes to the Supreme Court ruling came from Clarence Thomas, who broke his decade of silence on the bench to question whether or not someone whose domestic assault misdemeanor convictions was enough reason to forbid owning a gun.
The majority of the court said it was.
“A person who assaults another recklessly uses force no less than one who carries out that same action knowingly or intentionally, Justice Elana Kagan said in the court’s majority opinion.
The ruling struck down a Maine law that allowed domestic abusers to own and use a firearms. It is expected to do the same with such exemptions in 34 states and the District of Columbia.
The court’s ruling came on a day when justices also struck down a controversial Texas law that restricted legal abortions to clinics that must have strict “hospital-style” surgical limitations. That 5-3 decision is also expected to reduce or eliminate such abortion restrictions in Virginia and other states.
Another court decision Monday threw out the criminal conviction former govenor Robert F. McDonnell for getting favors, including use of a Ferarri, loans and cash gifts and and ownership of a fancy and expensive Rolex from a man seeking state favors and contracts.
The unanimous ruling limits what may or may not be seen as corruption or cashing in by public officials, says Jessica Tillipman, an assistant dean who teaches “anti-corruption law at George Washington University Law School.
“I think it’s going to make it a lot easier for politicians to accept gifts and hospitality and payments in return for taking action,” she told The Washington Post.
“Please, Governor Rolex, hold off on the smiles and celebration,” wrote Post columnist Petula Dvorak on Monday. “That conviction still stands in the court of public opinion.”
The truth is Virginia didn’t need the verdict to know that McDonnell was wrong.
The ravenous way he devoured the shiny things dangled before him, the way he refused to acknowledge during his trial that his behavior was distasteful and the way he publicly degraded his wife during the trial was enough to show he’s guilty, guilty, guilty of moral transgressions far more weighty than those we regulate with law.