A federal appeals court on Monday (November 18) upheld a law prohibiting individuals convicted of domestic violence from owning a gun unless the conviction is overturned.
As a result, a San Diego man will not be getting his guns back anytime soon.
Daniel Chovan was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and sent to jail for beating his girlfriend in 1996, according to Courthouse News Service. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle notes that while gun possession is barred for most violent felons, the domestic violence charge, "the most common charge for physical assaults in the home," was later added.
Chovan caught the attention of the FBI in 2009, when he attempted to purchase a gun but failed to admit to his conviction on background-check paperwork. FBI agents searched Chovan's home in 2010 after videos surfaced of him, along with other men, firing rifles and conducting amateur "border patrols." Four guns and over 500 rounds of ammunition were seized as a result of the search.
Agents also discovered that in March of 2010, Chovan's estranged wife told police that he had "threatened to hunt her down and shoot her if she ever left him."
Despite the fresh accusations, Chovan's lawyers fought the constitutionality of the federal law, pointing out that under California laws he would have only lost the right of gun ownership for ten years.
A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit of Appeals, however, became the fifth circuit to uphold the law, ruling that its enforcement was proper partially because "many people who engage in serious spousal or child abuse ultimately are not charged with or convicted of felonies," and that the ban was "related to the important government interest of preventing domestic gun violence."
The panel also refused to ignore the 2010 complaint against Chovan, which he had requested due to the fact that the police call did not result in his re-arrest. Judge Harry Pregerson, writing on behalf of the panel, noted that the law's application to Chovan was particularly prudent in light of the recent charges, since its enforcement was "substantially related to the goal of reducing domestic gun violence."