A Utah federal court judge has upheld the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act and denied a former Blanding city councilman's motion to dismiss the firearms charges against him.

Randee Lee Bayles, 50, of Monticello argued before U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball that the federal law, which prohibits a person subject to a protective order from possessing a firearm, violates his Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Bayles' ex-wife, Jeroldene Bailey, asked a San Juan County judge for a protective order in 1998 after suffering, she said, from physical abuse and threats of abuse throughout their 27-year marriage.

The state court judge issued that order.

Bayles' attorney, Brad Rich, argued that the judge in a similar case in Texas ruled that when the state court did not make findings regarding the likelihood of future violence, the federal law was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

But Kimball said the state court did find that Bayles was likely to exhibit future violent behavior: His ex-wife claimed he held a pistol to her neck in 1975 and told her in 1990 that he could "kill her anytime he wanted."

Kimball said that no federal courts of appeal have dealt with a Second Amendment challenge to the Violence Against Women Act yet, but that numerous circuit courts "have determined that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right on the part of the state to arm a militia — not an individual right to bear arms."

With the exception of the Texas case, Kimball said, every district court that has addressed the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act has found the statute to be constitutional.


E-MAIL: mtitze@desnews.com