United States v. Chapman

666 F.3d 220 (2012)

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United States v. Chapman

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
666 F.3d 220 (2012)

Facts

Evidence existed showing that domestic abusers had a high rate of repeat violence and that domestic abuse was more likely to be deadly if a firearm was involved. In order to reduce domestic-abuse injuries and deaths, a federal law prohibited a person from possessing a firearm while the person was subject to an order of protection, i.e., restraining order, that (1) prohibited the person from harassing an intimate partner or otherwise committing domestic abuse; (2) was issued using due-process protections, i.e., the person received notice and an opportunity to be heard; and (3) either explicitly prevented the person from using physical force or was issued after a finding that the person posed a credible threat. A domestic-violence restraining order that met all the requirements was entered against Ronald Chapman (defendant), prohibiting him from threatening or harming his girlfriend for 180 days. While the order was in effect, Chapman lived at his ex-wife’s house and kept firearms there. When Chapman told his ex-wife that he was going to commit suicide, the two struggled over control of three separate firearms, and one firearm discharged twice. The ex-wife fled for her own safety, and Chapman fired a shot after her. Chapman was charged with violating the federal law for having possessed firearms while subject to the domestic-violence restraining order. Chapman moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that, as applied to him, the law violated his Second Amendment right to keep firearms for home protection. The district court denied the motion. Chapman entered a guilty plea on the condition that he could appeal the Second Amendment issue and then appealed to the Fourth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hamilton, J.)

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