Domestic Violence Offenders Gun Ban Upheld

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that police officers are not exempt from the Domestic Violence Offenders Gun Ban, a law which prohibits people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanor offenses from purchasing or possessing guns.

In the court’s opinion, Judge Stephen F. Williams asserted that community service employees do not have a fundamental right to carry or possess a gun. Williams also rejected the Fraternal Order of Police’s claim that officers who lost their jobs as a result of the ban were denied due process.

The Fraternal Order of Police had argued that the 1996 gun ban is unduly harsh, and should include an exemption for police officers. Lawyers for the group cited an earlier amendment to the 1968 Gun Control Act which prohibited convicted felons from owning or carrying a gun but included an exception for police officers.

Proponents of the gun ban dismissed this argument as meaningless, noting that most police departments forbid the hiring of convicted felons.


AP - April 17, 1999

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