Supreme Court upholds law banning suspected domestic violence perpetrators from owning firearms

Another crucial ruling on guns came from the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, as justices upheld a law banning domestic violence perpetrators from owning guns.

It was the first major Second Amendment ruling by the Supreme Court justices since they expanded gun rights in 2022.

“Obviously extremely relieved that the judges listened to survivors like me,” said domestic violence survivor Kate Ranta.

Kate Ranta was shot and nearly killed by her husband more than a decade ago. She said she was grateful that the Supreme Court upheld a 1994 federal law that prohibits anyone who has been subject to a restraining order for domestic violence from possessing a gun.

Gun rights groups challenged the law, arguing that it violated the Second Amendment. Their case comes from Texas where Zackey Rahimi was accused of hitting his girlfriend during an argument in a parking lot and threatening her with his gun.

In the 8-1 decision, the justices rejected that argument because the law “fits neatly” into the nation's traditions of gun restrictions. In the opinion of the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote “since inception, our nation's gun laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms. »

Justice Clarence Thomas filed the only dissent.

In this dissenting opinion, Thomas writes, “the question is whether the government can take away the Second Amendment right of anyone who is the subject of a protective order, even if they have never been charged or convicted of a crime. It can't. The Court and the government do not cite a single landmark law revoking a citizen's Second Amendment right on the basis of possible interpersonal violence.

Ranta believes Thomas' dissent is offensive to victims of domestic violence.

“It's very, very difficult to get a domestic violence conviction, plea deals are made, you know, crimes are pled down to misdemeanors,” Ranta said. “Her lineage is not based on the reality of what women experience trying to stay safe.”

The National Rifle Association called the court's decision restrictive.

“The Supreme Court's narrow opinion does not approve the whistleblowing laws and dozens of other unconstitutional laws that the NRA is challenging across the country that infringe on the right of peaceful Americans to keep and bear arms . This decision only states that an individual who poses a clear threat of violence may be temporarily disarmed following a judicial finding of dangerousness,” said Randy Kozuch, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). in a written statement.

At the same time, Ranta believes that this law will maintain the bare minimum of protection for victims.

“It's hard to fully celebrate just because I know the reality and that women and children are still at grave risk from attackers who can get their hands on guns and it's really still way too easy,” he said. Ranta said.

The move comes as federal data shows guns are the most common weapon used in homicides of spouses, partners and children.

In a statement, President Biden said he would continue to urge Congress to strengthen protections for survivors of domestic violence. Rahimi's lawyer did not comment in response to the ruling.

Statement from the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) in response to the Supreme Court decision decision in United States v. Rahimi: As we explained in our amicus brief, the federal government has no constitutional authority to impose gun control on peaceful individuals, much less the law at issue in this case. Although we disagree with the Court's decision and challenge the federal authority to enforce this regulation, we are encouraged that the Court upheld the textual and historical analysis required in its Heller and Bruen decisions. . We will continue to eliminate disarmament programs and restore the right to keep and bear arms through our high impact FPC Law Strategic Litigation Program and other efforts.

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