Monday, February 27, 2012

On the Second Amendment rights of persons convicted of domestic violence

In United States v. Chester, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Chief Judge Traxler remanded the case of a West Virginia man convicted under the federal statute, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), which makes it a federal crime to possess a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence, for consideration under the Supreme Court's Second Amendment decision in D.C. v. Heller.

On remand, Judge Copenhaver of the S.D. W.Va. in an opinion dated February 16 applying the intermediate level of scrutiny required by Heller that the Second Amendment did not prohibit Chester's conviction. The opinion addresses a considerable volume of empirical evidence on the question of whether the gun statute bears a reasonable nexus to the important government interest in reducing the use of firearms as a weapon in domestic violence.

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