Voisine et al. v. United States

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Determined whether the Lautenberg amendment applies to individuals convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" with "recklessness" mens rea.

Full Case Titile: 

Stephen L. Voisine and William E. Armstrong, III, Petitioners, vs. United States, 579 US ___ (2016)
  • Fairness in the Courts
  • Violence Against Women and Girls


  • Joined Amicus Brief


At question in this case was whether the Lautenberg amendment should apply equally to individuals convicted of crimes of domestic violence with the "Recklessness" mens rea and to those convicted with other mentes reae. The court's argument states that "a single criminal act of domestic violence—even a "reckless" act—nearly always falls into a broader campaign of intentional conduct meant to coerce and control the victim." The court rejected the idea that the "reckless" nature of an act of violence should prevent that act from being considered domestic violence. It concluded that "including misdemeanor domestic violence crimes with the mens rea of 'recklessness' within the prohibition on firearms" prescribed by the Lautenberg amendment is "crucial to effectuating that statute's remedial purposes."