A federal court has ruled that the prohibition on domestic violence misdemeanants from keeping and bearing arms is constitutional. This is not surprising, since the Supreme Court has basically signals to the lower courts that they are free to ignore Heller and McDonald, and that they need not fear having their ruling, however awful, overturned. Here’s things I wish courts would consider:
- There’s a difference in degree of infringement between someone who already owns firearms and being forced to give them up, and someone who does not own firearms not being able to buy any for the duration of the prohibition.
- While the Lautenberg Amendment may not be an ex post facto law, the application of the prohibition on anyone who was ever convicted is a violation of their right to due process under the 5th and 14th Amendments.
- Lifetime prohibitions triggered by misdemeanor convictions should always be regarded with considerable suspicion in regards to constitutionality.
- Prohibitions should be something applied by judges as part of a sentence. The retroactive application of a prohibition is always a due process violation, even for felons. A defendant has to know which of his rights are on the line at the time he is accused and tried.
I don’t think applying a temporary prohibition to misdemeanants is on its face unconstitutional, but Lautenberg probably should be.