Update — On January 5, 2018, the Sixth Circuit issued a favorable decision upholding the federal law that prohibits gun possession by domestic violence misdemeanants. The majority opinion approvingly cited evidence and arguments from Giffords Law Center’s amicus brief (filed as the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence). See Stimmel v. Sessions, No. 15-4196, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 213, at *19, *22 (6th Cir. Jan. 4, 2018).
Case Information: Stimmel v. Sessions, No. 15-4196 (Sixth Circuit brief filed Mar. 31, 2017).
At Issue: This case involves a Second Amendment challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), the federal law prohibiting firearm possession by people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit arguing that because he has only one conviction for domestic abuse, and the conviction is a number of years old, it is unconstitutional to subject him to the § 922(g)(9) prohibition. The district court dismissed plaintiff’s facial and as-applied constitutional challenges, and the case is now on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our brief argues that the district court properly dismissed plaintiff’s constitutional challenge, because people convicted of domestic violence crimes are serious lawbreakers who fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment as historically understood. Further, we argue that even if § 922(g)(9) implicates the Second Amendment, the wealth of evidence demonstrating a clear link between domestic abuse and firearm violence justifies prohibiting domestic violence misdemeanants from possessing guns.