The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in a case that has the potential to restrict the rights of convicted domestic abusers to own firearms. The case involved an appeal of a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which applied a test established by the Supreme Court in New York Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen. This test requires gun control laws to be based on historical tradition. In March, the appeals court overturned a sentence against Zackey Rahimi, who had been prohibited from owning a gun under a 1994 federal law.
5th Circuit Judge Cory Wilson justified the decision by stating, “Rahimi, while hardly a model citizen, is nonetheless among ‘the people’ entitled to the Second Amendment’s guarantees, all other things equal.” The Biden administration appealed the ruling, arguing that there is strong historical evidence supporting the idea that the government can disarm dangerous individuals.
— Home Defense Gun (@HomeDefenseGun) November 8, 2023
According to Courthouse News Service, laws limiting the ownership of firearms by domestic abusers have been in place for nearly 30 years at the federal and/or state levels. The arguments heard by the Supreme Court suggest that the majority of justices are leaning towards upholding the law. Justice Amy Coney Barrett expressed concern about the risks posed by individuals with a history of domestic violence, while Justice Neil Gorsuch highlighted the presence of a credible threat in the case being considered.
Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar pointed out the historical precedent behind the law, mentioning that legislatures have disarmed those who have committed serious crimes or whose access to guns poses a danger. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. had a brief discussion with the federal public defender representing Rahimi, questioning whether Rahimi is a dangerous person. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan argued that allowing domestic abusers to have guns would undermine public safety. The decision of the Supreme Court in this case will have significant implications for the rights of convicted domestic abusers to own firearms.