Federal Firearms Prohibition Extends to Persons Convicted of Reckless Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence: Voisine v. United States

The United States Supreme Court has held that the federal firearms prohibition for individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence applies even to convictions having recklessness as an element of the offense. In Voisine v. United States, the Court rejected the petitioners’ argument that the prohibition was inapplicable where the predicate offense could have been based upon a finding of reckless conduct, as opposed to purposeful/intentional or knowing conduct. This article outlines how the Voisine decision has definitively settled the question of whether convictions under statutes that include the reckless infliction of injury qualify as misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence for purposes of the federal firearms prohibition. It also provides suggestions for prosecutors about how to best leverage this decision in domestic violence cases in ways that keep victims—and communities—safe.