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APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE [Hon. George Z. Singal, U.S. District Judge]

This appeal requires us to resolve an interpretive schism that has divided the district courts. This schism involves the interplay between a state assault statute and a federal law barring misdemeanants who have committed crimes of domestic violence from possessing firearms. The crux of the controversy is whether “offensive physical contact,” one of the two variants of assault featured in Maine’s general-purpose assault statute, necessarily involves the use or attempted use of physical force. If so, prior convictions under that statute can qualify as predicate offenses for purposes of the federal statute prohibiting persons previously convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence from possessing firearms (18 U.S.C. � 922(g)(9)). If not, such misdemeanants – at least those whose convictions are not readily identifiable as involving more than offensive physical contact – may well escape the strictures of the federal law.

Based upon our construal and reconciliation, we conclude that Congress intended the federal law to cover all persons who have been convicted of assaulting domestic partners in circumstances similar to those delineated by both strains of the Maine statute. Accordingly, we affirm the conviction and sentence imposed in the case at hand.

 
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