After the state denied his request to own a gun, a man in Cottage Grove, Wis. is trying to overturn the government’s decision. If he wins, the case may affect gun policies across the nation.
Robert W. Evans, 68, applied for a concealed-carry permit despite a 2002 conviction for domestic violence and disorderly conduct. His application was rejected by the Wisconsin Department of Justice due to his crime.
According to a federal law passed in 1996, nobody convicted of a domestic violence charge is entitled to possess any guns. The Wisconsin government cited this law as the basis for its denial.
Evans took his appeal to circuit court, claiming that federal law does not view his crime as a violent misdemeanor, and that the traditional definition of domestic violence does not apply in his case because the offense was against his stepdaughter, aged 36.
According to Evans, "the elements of the offense of conviction, the legal definition of the crime, is the focus of the analysis. The conduct of the defendant in committing the crime is irrelevant."
The state responded to Evans’ claims by stating, "Nothing in the language or legislative history of the amendment suggests that Congress intended to withhold protection from adults whose family relationship with a biological parent put them at risk for violence at the hands of their biological parent's spouse. More basically, the notion that an element of 'violent' conduct does not satisfy the definition of 'use of physical force' is nonsensical”
Since the passing of Act 35 in 2011, the state of Wisconsin has issued about 200,000 permits to carry a concealed firearm, and rejected about 5,800 requests. Evans is reportedly the first person to appeal his rejection.