Gun Ban for Domestic-Violence Offenders OK, Rules Court

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A California man convicted of domestic violence lost his appeal, and will not be able to own a gun for the rest of his life. The 9th Circuit federal appeals court ruled on Monday that a ban on gun ownership for violent criminals is not a violation of the Second Amendment.

Daniel Chovan was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in 1996. However, he omitted this information while applying to purchase a firearm in 2009, raising a red flag to the FBI.

After further investigation, FBI agents found Internet footage of Chovan shooting guns and conducting unauthorized “border patrols” along the Mexican border. They also learned that Chovan had threatened to hunt down and shoot his estranged wife if she broke up with him.

After searching his home and finding four guns and more than 500 rounds of ammo, authorities pressed charges on Chovan. Chovan fought back, saying that the federal law requiring a lifetime gun ban for domestic-violence misdemeanors is unconstitutional.

The panel of judges did not buy it. "The government has demonstrated that domestic violence misdemeanants are likely to commit acts of domestic violence again and that, if they do so with a gun, the risk of death to the victim is significantly increased," said Judge Harry Pregerson.

Originally, the law in question only applied to criminals found guilty of violent felonies. However, Congress altered the law in 1996 to include misdemeanor domestic violence charges, as these are the most common violent crimes that occur in victims’ homes.

Under California law, Chovan would have been eligible to own a gun ten years after his misdemeanor conviction. However, the federal law supercedes state law, so Chovan is still barred from owning a gun for the rest of his life.

Chovan has pled guilty to possessing illegal weapons, and was sentenced to probation.

Sources: Courthouse News, SF Gate