Going to court against your own country has to be some sort of achievement, right? Not if you’re in the wrong, it’s not.
Don’t be misled, however; Voisine v. the United States is not as impressive (nor unique) a case as its designation would have you believe — Mr. Stephen Voisine just bought a gun when the law forbade him to, and somehow shot a bald eagle afterward.
Voisine lost, but the focus was not on how he murdered America’s national bird; it was why he should not have had the murder weapon in the first place. See, Voisine already had a criminal history prior to bringing the United States to court, and it was for domestic violence.
One on One, Offensive
“The only difference between a battered woman and a dead woman is the presence of a gun.”
Those words pushed the 104th Congress to another one of its rare instances of unity, as 1996 became the year when the law finally caught up with the simple concept that guns and domestic violence should not mix. The Lautenberg Amendment would prevent those convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse from buying or owning a gun or ammunition.
Voisine was under the impression that it only applied to intentional cases, not reckless domestic abuse.
Two and Two, Together
Of course, there is really no point in isolating one from the other, as the courts eventually swatted the appeal. Misdemeanor lawyers from Provo clarify that, while there is a multitude of factors influencing the classification of domestic violence cases — intentional and reckless types included — the Lautenberg Amendment applies all the same.
They note that any non-inclusive interpretation would only undermine the law’s ability to protect previous and would-be victims of domestic abuse, at least from the threat of gun violence.
It is unfortunate that many other people like Stephen Voisine exist today not just in the US, but the world over as well. However, if the government and the people can take steps to minimize the harm these abusers can cause to their partners, they would be damned not to do so.