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What does a recent Supreme Court ruling mean for Mississippians?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Whether you follow the rulings of the nation’s highest court or not, they can and do affect the lives of all Americans. For example, the majority of the current justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have generally voted to uphold gun owners’ rights when they’ve been challenged.

This month, in a rare nearly unanimous decision, however, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold a federal law that prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense (either a misdemeanor or felony) or anyone who is the subject of a domestic violence-related restraining order from possessing any firearms.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the law didn’t violate the Second Amendment since historically, “our nation’s firearm laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms.”

The case that reached the high court involved a Texas man who had been banned from having guns in a protective order obtained by his girlfriend. After the ruling, a representative for the group Gun Owners of America acknowledged that the defendant is a “dangerous individual,” but the law potentially prevents people from having firearms “who have never actually committed any domestic violence.”

State law doesn’t have the same prohibitions as federal law

This federal law, and this ruling that upholds it, may have little or no effect on Mississippi gun owners. Mississippi is among the minority of states without gun possession prohibitions for those accused or convicted of domestic violence offenses. 

Further, even the federal law is rarely enforced in the state. The U.S. Southern District of Mississippi’s office has prosecuted only a handful of cases under this law.

Nonetheless, all gun owners should be aware of any changes to state and federal laws involving the purchase and possession of firearms. If you have questions or concerns, having legal guidance can help.