Justice Thomas fine with domestic abusers having easier access to guns
Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent in the Supreme Court decision on gun rights is troubling.
At-issue in Voisine v. United States is a technical question of whether two men with convictions for “reckless” domestic assault fall under a federal law prohibiting people convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from possessing a firearm. The law prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing firearms wasn’t the question under discussion — instead, the question was how far that law reached over certain states’ differing domestic assault laws.
Justice Thomas, however, was very concerned in arguments about the broader law that domestic abusers at large can’t have guns — breaking 10 years of silence on the Court to complain at arguments in February.
“Give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right,” he asked, later suggesting that the particular domestic abusers in this case shouldn’t lose their ability to carry guns because they’ve never actually “use[d] a weapon against a family member.”
…restricting those convicted of domestic assault from obtaining firearms, he argues, is a “cavalier” treatment of their constitutional rights.
“In construing the statute before us expansively so that causing a single minor reckless injury or offensive touching can lead someone to lose his right to bear arms forever, the Court continues to “relegat[e] the Second Amendment to a second-class right.”