Court Upholds Law that Bars Domestic Violence Offenders from Owning Guns

November 20, 2013 8:00 am · 59 comments

A federal law that imposes a lifetime ban on gun possession by people convicted of domestic violence has been upheld by a federal appeals court in San Francisco.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the ruling Monday in a challenge by a San Diego County man, Daniel Chovan, who was convicted in state court of misdemeanor domestic violence against his then-girlfriend in 1996.

Chovan contended that the lifetime ban violated his constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms.

He appealed after being prosecuted in federal court in San Diego in 2010 for illegally possessing guns. FBI agents had found four guns and 532 rounds of ammunition at his house and learned he had allegedly threatened to hunt down and shoot his estranged wife if she left him.

Chovan pleaded guilty to the gun possession charge and was sentenced to five years’ probation, but reserved the right to appeal.

His appeal centered on a landmark ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court said in 2008 that the Second Amendment right to possess guns applies to individuals as well as state militias.

But the appeals court noted that the Supreme Court said in that decision that the right was “not unlimited” and that it applied to “law-abiding, responsible citizens.”

Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson wrote in the court’s lead opinion that Congress had a legitimate reason for enacting the ban because it was “substantially related to the important government interest of preventing domestic gun violence.”

All three members of an appeals court panel upheld Chovan’s conviction, but Judge Carlos Bea wrote a concurring opinion using different reasoning.

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Denise November 20, 2013 at 8:38 AM

The 9th District Court of Appeals is PATHETIC!

Maybe I’ll get a gun and shoot Daniel Chovan. He needs to see how it feels.

I’ve never been a victim of Domestic Violence, but I’m a woman.

Screw Chovan!!!

Howard K Mullins III November 20, 2013 at 9:06 AM

The second amendment is the law of the land. Everyone should have access to a gun.


If someone has shown that they cannot use a gun responsibly and be accountable, then they should not have one.

If more women had guns, there would be less domestic violence.

Darth Vader November 20, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Women can be evil, they should stop doing things that’ll make men smake em’. Don’t wanna get smacked? don’t do dumb stuff and act like a normal human being… Darth Vader OUT!

Anonymous November 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM

If more women had guns there would be less domestic violence? Really .. That’s a lot a pretty large statement!
Most women that are in domestic violence cases are scared, mentally unstable and would not benefit from having a gun in their possession.

Speaking from someone who has experienced and pulled through domestic abuse….

Dorothy November 20, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Good for the court.

By the way, we really don’t need gun toting women with PMS problems to add to gun toting men with macho problems.

@Denise November 20, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Can you read? The court upheld Chovan’s conviction.

@ Howard November 20, 2013 at 9:20 AM

No there wouldn’t,,, there would be more…

Sacto Rob November 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Civil rights are not absolute. They can be reduced and taken away, but only by due process. That seems to be the case here.

Bill November 20, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Here’s Howard again with his skewed logic, proven time and time again, more people die at the end of their own gun than a criminals! Do you hate women Howard? Having a gun in the home greatly increases the risk of the residents of that home being shot, period! A persons chances of being killed as a result of random violence, or domestic violence pale greatly in comparison.

teri November 20, 2013 at 10:03 AM


Half of all domestic violence is mutual.
Of one-way abuse, women are the perpetrator 2/3 of the time.
The #1 cause of a woman being hit by a man is that she hit him first.

These are the facts that are purposely being kept from the public by Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)-funded and gender-feminist-influenced organizations.

@ Mullins 111 November 20, 2013 at 10:11 AM

You say “everyone should have access to a gun”? How about 4 of them. And 532 rounds of ammo.
More guns equals more violence, period. Some people should NOT have access to any kind of weaponry. Case in point: George Zimmerman.
And yes, I know one could always use a baseball bat, or a hammer, or any number of other items, but the main argument pertains to guns. Not everyone should have access to a gun.

Anon November 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Yeah Howard, why would a women need a gun when they can just get a restraining order. So much easier and faster.

Triple Canopy November 20, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Yup. The game changes when convicted of a crime. However, it was a misdemeanor rather than a felony. The Ninth Circuit leans left so their decision should be taken with a grain of salt.

Send it up to the SCOTUS.

Triple Canopy November 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM

#8.. True… as exemplified by Obama and his administration who skip due process.

@Bill November 20, 2013 at 11:37 AM

How many of those were suicides compared to accidental deaths? If you disregard the suicides (guns don’t cause suicide), the statistics lean in the other direction.

Anonymous November 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM

I read in a recent article (can’t remember where) that 80% of Americans believe we should have stricter laws to prohibit felons and the mentally ill from possessing/owning firearms.

It seems gun control advocacy groups and the NRA and other pro firearms groups should find some way to work together to pass meaningful laws that keep firearms out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill who pose a threat to themselves or others. Only responsible, law-abiding citizens should be allowed to possess firearms.

@16 November 20, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Believe it or not, the NRA actually supports laws that keep guns away from criminals or severely punishes people for criminal use of a firearm. They are, however, opposed to laws that unreasonably restrict the law-abiding.

another idiot like you November 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM

He lost a Constitutional right for a misdemeanor. Brutal. Domestic violence I do not condone but come on, you should not lose a Constitutional right over it, maybe felony assault associated with the domestic charge. I feel Chovan should keep appealing.

Psycho Cat November 20, 2013 at 12:26 PM

So why is George Zimmerman allowed to carry a gun after abusing his wife and now his current girlfriend? He’s banned from carrying a gun right now while he waiting for his case to go to court. But until that happened, he carried one legally.

FB November 20, 2013 at 12:38 PM

This should be a real wake-up call to gun-owning guys who may be headed into a divorce. Be sure to read this article about divorce and restraining orders written by a CA gun rights attorney:

Rollo Tomasi November 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM

@ 19:

Has he been previously convicted of a felony somewhere?

Fire SCOTUS ! November 20, 2013 at 12:44 PM

The Constitution is clear. Read it sometime.

If you don’t like it. Leave.

Atticus Thraxx November 20, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Denise your statement may very well be a felony. Best mind your tongue before you find yourself in front of a judge.
Still lifetime ban for a misdemeanor seems extreme. Take away is keep your pimp hand to yourself.

Another Gun Owner November 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Yes, I have guns in my home.
In fact, I have six guns (not counting the pellet rifles).
If you think Chovan’s 532 rounds was excessive, don’t come over my house.

They are all under lock and key. Guns, AND ammo.

Anonymous November 20, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Jeffrey Griffin Boyce received a concealed-carry permit from the Coos County Oregon Sheriff in June 2012, just a few months after he finished a three-year probation for three felony offenses in the same County. His records were expunged and the Sheriff apparently wasn’t aware of Boyce’s crimes (in his own county) when he issued the concealed-carry permit.

About ten months after Boyce received a concealed-carry permit, he murdered an innocent woman who stopped at a popular lookout along Highway 101 at about 7:30 am on a Sunday morning. Boyce reportedly thought she was an FBI agent. He drove down Highway 101 and continued his crime spree in California (carjacking and attempted carjacking) on his way to the Russian consulate “to seek asylum.”

I hope the NRA will work with the Brady Campaign and other groups and pressure representatives to pass sensible legislation. Our current laws are either ineffective or not enforced. More thorough background checks would help and expunging records or sealing files should not delete information needed to perform a proper background check.

Denise November 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM


Yes, I can read, and I’m well aware of the ruling.

I have felt the 9th Circuit is PATHETIC for over 30 years now, and will continue to feel that way for life. It’s not like I’m the only one.

I have ZERO TOLERANCE for Domestic Violence, and I can’t stand the 9th Circuit.

I’m annoyed that Chovan would even consider appealing.

If you don’t like my opinion, don’t read it!

Denise November 20, 2013 at 1:36 PM

@ Atticus-23

You have to be a New Yorker. I’ll leave it at that!

anon November 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Now, if we could only pass a law prohibiting domestic violence offenders from ever having a partner we could change the world!

Bill November 20, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Nice try #15.. The facts speak for themselves! ***Access to firearms yields a more than five-fold increase in risk of intimate partner homicide when considering other factors of abuse, according to a recent study, suggesting that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.***
Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., Risk Factors For Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From A Multi-Site Case Control Study, 93 Am. J. of Public Health 1089, 1092 (2003), abstract available at

Bill November 20, 2013 at 2:53 PM

In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
Callie Marie Rennison, U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 197838, Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief: Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, at 1 (2003), available at

Bill November 20, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Of females killed with a firearm, almost two-thirds were killed by their intimate partners. The number of females shot and killed by their husband or intimate partner was more than three times higher than the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined in single victim/single offender incidents in 2002.
The Violence Pol’y Ctr., When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2002 Homicide Data: Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim/Single Offender Incidents, at 7 (2004), available at

anon November 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

I think it is a good idea to prohibit guns and that we should go as far as even labeling domestic violence offenders to warn off potential victims from becoming involved with them. I learned from my sisters-in-law that my first husband was so physically violent as a young man that they had to lock him out of their home in fear for their lives only AFTER he blackened my eyes and broke my nose. It took a few more violent events for me to finally give up on him and realize that I was going to die at his hands if we didn’t divorce. I wish someone had at least warned me. I don’t know if I would have believed them at first, but at least would have been able to realize that his violent anger to have his selfish way was the way he always had been and that it wasn’t just his anger with me over marriage, pregnancy, money, his freedom to keep playing the field and eventually whenever he was just mad and wanted to take it out on me. .

anon November 20, 2013 at 3:24 PM

A lifetime ban, particularly for a misdemeanor, is ridiculous. Why should someone lose one of the most important means of self-defense long after an incident that may have happened in a much more troubled period of life?
That’s the thing about progressives, they claim to believe in redemption, then pull this sort of stuff in the making of legislation.

It’s about controlling guns, not about what someone did years or decades before.

The dude November 20, 2013 at 3:26 PM

This is so dumb, California’s gun laws are also very dumb.

Bleeding heart left wing liberals

Dennis November 20, 2013 at 3:51 PM

@Bill you should stop depending on VPC and try getting factual information.

restraining orders are about as useful as TP; they aren’t effective until after the sh1t happens. Cops cannot and will not provide personal protection, so basically if the guy is convicted of murder, the court will add 30 days to the life sentence for violating the RO.

Dennis November 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM

And 16 states return ALL rights to felons after serving their sentences. In Florida, a man who kills his GF 2nd deg. Homicide can serve 2 years, and then go buy a gun. But the guy whose ex-wife got a restraining order as part of the divorce – because he shouted at her and her attorney in court – has a lifetime ban on gun ownership?
Nearly all decisions of the 9th are overturned by SCOTUS.
In CA violent felons get paroled to commit more crimes, but they take away a Right because of a misdemeaner?

I think those of you who support that decision should ask yourselves if you would agree to having your right to vote cancelled because of a traffic ticket.

this punishment is too extreme for the crime … typical Liberal overreaction.

Unfair November 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

When the system is set up against men, there is room for abuse. A spiteful person could cause trouble for someone, and no recourse is taken for lying in court. There are rotten apples, but not every man is out to hit women. The woman can instigate and possibly assault with no recourse. Not enough people come forward, there are more assaults and domestic violence against men than you might realize.

Not fond of all these crappy, feel good, bleeding heart politicians and judges.
If he can afford it, he should appeal.

Shelley November 20, 2013 at 4:17 PM

I’m surprised the 9th Circuit upheld it. They’re way too liberal.

Probably the first time I’ve agreed with their decision.

Bill November 20, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Please Dennis, enlighten us all with your factual information.. Easy to sit on the sidelines and judge, let’s see your data from a more reputable source there, Monday Morning QB.

Anon November 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

This is very sad. Not matter what else a person does, if they are not a felon they should not be barred from the second amendment. Even then quite frankly, as the libtards of this country continue to expand what is and isn’t a felon, isn’t right either. When we take away a fundamental freedom, and primary method of self-defend we make ourselves more vulnerable to those who would do us harm.

Well I am sure most of you agree with this, just hope you keep voting for tax increases to cover the cost of policing. Because when you can’t protect yourselves you’d better hope the cops will.

Kill all communists November 20, 2013 at 5:38 PM

It’s bad enough that it’s illegal to beat my wife for backtalking me… now I can’t even point a gun at her? What kind of PATHETIC LIBERAL NONSENSE is that? FREE MEN OF THE WORLD, REVOLT!

Anon November 20, 2013 at 5:39 PM

@Bill, sucking up to your wive only makes you a suck up.

Dennis November 20, 2013 at 5:53 PM

@Bill I’ve been publishing actual stats over in the politics thread.

let’s start with 95% of gun crime is committed by felons and gang members.

note guns are not allowed to those groups by law.

note your domestic violence murders are included in that group.

that means if you eliminate the problem of felons and gang members with guns (so far, you just keep putting them back on the streets), you also eliminate 95% of the domestic violence gun homicides at the same time.

Dennis November 20, 2013 at 5:59 PM

to those that support this decision, would you still agree if a different Right were involved … such as the 1st Amendment?

So far, courts have agreed that permanently rescinding a Constitutional Right is not proper, even for severe felonies.

But hey, you would support having your 1st Amendment Rights permanently removed, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor?

that is the only issue the SCOTUS will look at: punishment vs. crime. misdemeanor crime, removal of a Constitutional Right permanently.

gonna be a no brainer.

Anonymous November 20, 2013 at 7:21 PM

What about Equal Protection Under the Law? If every state has different laws concerning firearms, ammunition, which felons are entitled to possess firearms, and so on, then we are not equally protected. It is too easy for that convicted felon who legally obtained a firearm or concealed-carry permit in one state to cross state lines and terrorize residents in another state.

Atticus Thraxx November 20, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Being Brooklyn-born doesn’t make me better than you Denise #27, not being angry and shrill however…..

Dennis November 20, 2013 at 8:13 PM

@#45 your assumption that convicted felons LEGALLY obtaining firearms is a problem is flawed, convicted felons don’t buy guns legally. Changing or tightening regs for lawful citizens buying a legitimate item (like a gun or a fishing pole) has no effect on reducing gun crime.

Unless, of course, you can show us where keeping a little white haired granny for getting a gun reduces the drive-by shootings in the hood ….

It is unequal treatment of violent criminals that constitutes the problem. Like an eating disorder. You can’t cure that problem by outlawing large sodas (NYC).

Until you actually PUNISH those who commit crimes, or at least keep them locked up where they can’t repeatedly commit them, you aren’t dealing with the cause; you are only attacking the visible symptoms (like Botox treatments).

Dennis November 20, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Which of you wants to try telling this lady that women getting battered or raped is preferable to shooting the attacker?
Black women and guns
By Stefani Carter

TAMPA – Delegates at the Republican convention on Tuesday approved a strong pro-gun platform that, among other things, supports national legislation to expand concealed carry rights.

As a Republican state lawmaker and National Rifle Association member, as is GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, I applaud the position. But there are many other supporters of gun rights who are not here in attendance, and their identity might surprise you.

What is the fastest-growing demographic group in my state of Texas seeking concealed handgun licenses? Black women. As a former prosecutor, I understand why they are choosing to arm themselves.

In 2009, U.S. black women were murdered at a rate nearly two and a half times higher than white women. More than 90% of black women killed by males in single-victim incidents knew their killers.

But the upward trend of seeking weapons is not isolated to black women. More women are packing heat. The percentage of women who report personal gun ownership is now at 23%. Nationally, GOP women, 30 to 44 years old, and who live in rural areas, are the fastest-growing group of gun owners. This can be attributed to guns becoming more affordable and more states expanding concealed carry rights.

Take Texas. During the last session, a measure allowing citizens to store concealed handguns in their vehicles while at work, which I co-authored, became law. Many states, including Texas, have also passed “stand your ground” laws, allowing citizens to protect themselves on their own property against intruders and thieves. Although the George Zimmerman shooting case has put this issue in a negative light, this is an important right.

One reason: black-on-black crime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 93% of the more than 8,000 black homicide victims in 2005 were murdered by someone of their own race. Of those 8,000 victims, 15% were women. Also blacks account for only 13.1% of the U.S. population but are nearly half of the homicide victims in the country. With numbers like these, it is imperative that we learn how to use guns to defend ourselves.

Our Second Amendment right is an important freedom that extends to all Americans — not just male but also female; not just white but also black, including African-American women.

Stefani Carter is a GOP Texas state representative from Dallas and a National Rifle Association member.

Stefani Carter photo:

Bill November 20, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Dennis, where is your supporting evidence for this page?? You doubt my supporting citations, where are your counter facts?? No one is going to take your word for it! Additionally, “gun crime” is an ambiguous description, I’m sure you know that. As pointed out by #15 (Who was wrong about the statistics otherwise) 60% of all gun deaths are suicides. Only 35% of all gun deaths are homicides. The rest are essentially accidental, of which: “A federal government study of unintentional shootings found that 8% of such shooting deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six.”!!! So you see Dennis, guns are dangerous to have in the house! Your homicide by felon assertion cannot be quantified without supporting proof that could be measured and disputed. But the fact that only 11,000 people were killed by gun homicide (Including justifiable) in 2010, out of an American population of 309 Million, means that your chances of being shot dead by a felon is not statistically significant!!

Bill November 20, 2013 at 8:21 PM
@Bill November 20, 2013 at 9:17 PM

How many children die in drownings every year? It seems bathtubs are more dangerous to have in the home than guns.

Anonymous November 20, 2013 at 9:30 PM

@Dennis #47-
I’m not making any assumptions and you are jumping to conclusions. You figure out how Jeffrey Griffin Boyce obtained a concealed carry permit in Coos County Oregon less than a year after he completed his three-year probation for three felonies.

If he acquired guns illegally, don’t you think the Sheriff of Coos County would have seized those firearms rather than issue a concealed-carry permit to him in June 2012? When you have the answers, let us know.

caskydiver November 20, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Like anything else, there is degrees of domestic violence. Blanket laws saying anyone convicted of domestic violence cannot have a gun is wrong. You can be convicted of dometic violence if you shout loudly at your partner only. Should that prevent you from EVER owning a gun?? One can be falsely accused…..the other spouse could have initiated physical contact and in defending oneself, the initial victim could be accused and convicted as the perpetrator. Obvious issues with real violence, then yes….(but the tricky part is what is “obvious”?) a restriction on gun ownership could/should be levied but for only a period of time. Jail sentences are time-bound, why would a denial of a right be any different??

caskydiver November 20, 2013 at 9:56 PM

…and one more thing. Denial of a right is something that should be taken VERY VERY seriously. There’s no difference between denying a person their second amendment rights then there is denying them their first, third, fourth, etc……

Bill November 20, 2013 at 11:36 PM

@51, bathtubs aren’t designed to kill… Seriously, you thought that was a good argument??

Dr. Jellyfinger November 20, 2013 at 11:53 PM

Tell that to Cleavland Brown.

@Bill November 21, 2013 at 4:48 AM

WTF does it matter what they’re “designed” to do? Fact is, more children drown in bathtubs tan are accidentally shot in the home. Where’s your outrage over that?

How many times every year do people use a bathtub to defend themselves and save their lives? Compare that to the number of self-defense acts that involve a gun (including the numerous ones where the gun is never even fired) and you’ll see that a gun in the home is not only safer for kids than a bathtub, but also far more useful.

Go ahead and say it’s a dumb argument, but you know it’s right.

David November 21, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Okay, lets go over this once more. The second amendment is not about protecting yourself. IT’S ABOUT PROTECTING FREEDOM FROM TYRANNY!! So when we are disarmed, which is what the government wants, we will no longer be free. So just give up all your weapons now and get ready for marshall law. It sounds like that is what everyone wants. Very sad.

Dennis November 21, 2013 at 7:01 PM

@#52 I don’t support Laws restricting everyone’s Rights on your paranoia about 1 oddball. Bluntly, there is 1/3 Billion Americans, and your example is more rare than a lightning strike.
You should be asking why 80% of parolees reoffend, and why 95% of violent crime is committed by felons, but you are busy sweeping up mouse droppings instead of dealing with the 600 pound gorilla making a huge pile on your carpet every day.

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