By Tim Graves, Esq.
In the United States, if you are convicted of a felony, you
cannot legally possess firearms. The Supreme Court of the United States recently ruled in
United States v. Castleman that a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence can also preclude the
person's right to bear arms. The Court based this decision on the
fact that "domestic violence is pervasive;" and that "this
pervasiveness, combined with the danger created when guns and domestic
However, not all incidents of misdemeanor domestic violence will now preclude
citizens from possessing firearms. Traditionally, "the element of
force in the crime of batter was 'satisfied by even the slightest
 Therefore, the Court ruled that "any physical force"
 must be used in the incident of domestic violence in order to trigger
the preclusion. Therefore, misdemeanor assault that involves pushing or other
actual contact, even very minimal contact, such as offensive touching, will trigger
this mechanism; however, misdemeanor assault that involves poison or other
non-contact will not trigger this mechanism.
What does this mean for someone who has been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence?
A criminal defendant who has been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence
and wants to protect his/her Second Amendment rights has two options.
First, you can fight the charge and take it trial. Second, you can try
to plead guilty to lesser offense that does not involve domestic violence
or actual physical contact. Which option is best for you turns on the
alleged facts of the indictment. Contact our experienced Criminal Defense
Team at Feldmann Nagel, LLC to determine your course of action.
 Amy Howe,
Opinion analysis: State conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault counts
as "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" for purposes of
federal gun restrictions, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 27, 2014, 9:54 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/03/opinion-analysis-state-conviction-for-misdemeanor-domestic-assault-counts-as-misdemeanor-crime-of-domestic-violence-for-purposes-of-federal-gun-restrictions/