Hi. I’m Lisa Bloom for Avvo.com. You may have heard that George Zimmerman is back in the news this week. He’s accused of domestic violence, accused of pointing a gun and threatening his live-in girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe. This comes just two months after a similar charge of domestic violence was made by his estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, although she failed to pursue those charges.
What a lot of people don’t know is that if George Zimmerman is convicted, even of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, that’s a relatively low level charge, he will be banned by federal law from owning a gun for the rest of his life.
In 1996, a law known as the Lautenberg Amendment, named after the former Senator Frank Lautenberg who is now deceased, was an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act, and it held that anybody who’s convicted of domestic violence, felony or misdemeanor, is barred from having a gun for the rest of that person’s life.
Now, there’s currently a case before the U.S. Supreme Court — they just accepted it a month ago — that challenges that based on the Second Amendment. In that case, a Tennessee man, who has about a 9 year-old domestic violence conviction, he says for a relatively minor incident he feels that his Second Amendment rights should allow him to have a gun non-withstanding that so we’ll have to stay tuned and see how the Supreme Court rules on that.
Meanwhile, Congress is considering moving in the opposite direction and expanding the law to those even subject to just domestic violence protective orders, which are relatively common in the civil courts.
So stay tuned to see what happens with George Zimmerman. The most common outcome in domestic violence cases is a plea deal to misdemeanor domestic violence cases. If so, George Zimmerman may not be able to own guns anymore.
I’m Lisa Bloom for Avvo.com