Monday, June 27, 2016

SCOTUS: Reckless Misdemeanor DV Convictions Trigger Lautenberg Gun Ban

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence ("MCDV")provisions of the federal firearms laws, commonly referred to as the "Lautenberg Amendment", are in fact triggered when a person is convicted of a misdemeanor crime where the culpable mental state is "reckless".

In Voisine v. U.S., the Court held that, even when it is unclear as to whether the defendant was convicted of a MCDV where the culpable mental state was specific or general intent (knowingly) or reckless, the firearm prohibitions of 18 USC sec. 922 (g)(9) still applied.  In a previous case (U.S. v. Castleman), the Court has ruled that either specific or general intent crimes could trigger the Lautenberg Amendment, but did not address the culpable mental states of reckless or negligent.  The Court clarified that issue in Voisine, where it held that although recklessness is different that intentional or knowingly, it nonetheless required a voluntary act and conscious decision to proceed in the face of an unjustifiable risk, and was thus not accidental or inadvertent.

Firearms ownership is just one collateral risk that must be considered when resolving a criminal charge.  The assistance of a skilled, experienced attorney is essential in navigating the myriad of consequences of your decisions in these cases.

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