Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Guns for People Under Domestic Restraining Orders

The Supreme Court this morning upheld by 8–1 a federal law that bars people under domestic violence-related restraining orders from possessing firearms.

The justices found that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not violated when an individual is disarmed after a court has found him to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another. The ruling overturned a lower court decision that overturned a federal law.

The new decision comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark 2022 ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. That decision recognized a constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense and held that restrictions on guns must be deeply rooted in American history if they are to survive constitutional scrutiny.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Court’s majority opinion. The lone dissenter was Justice Clarence Thomas.

The case of United States v. Rahimi concerns a February 2023 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that struck down Section 922(g)(8) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, a 1994 law that prohibits a person who is subject to a domestic restraining order from having a gun.

The 5th Circuit held the statute had ceased to be constitutional in light of the Bruen precedent.

The ban on the possession of firearms by someone under a domestic restraining order “is an outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted,” the circuit court said at the time.

The case involves Zackey Rahimi of Texas, who previously entered a guilty plea to violating the federal statute. Mr. Rahimi was involved in five shooting incidents after a restraining order was entered against him in February 2020. After the Bruen decision was handed down, he asked the courts to review his conviction, given the change in Second Amendment jurisprudence.

Second Amendment advocates said Mr. Rahimi, whose family emigrated from Afghanistan, was not an ideal spokesman for their cause given his history of violence, but they stood by their argument that the 5th Circuit ruled correctly.

In a brief, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said the 5th Circuit ruling has had “significant disruptive consequences.” That court “overlooked the strong historical evidence supporting the general principle that the government may disarm dangerous individuals,” she wrote.

At the oral argument on Nov. 7, 2023, Ms. Prelogar told the justices that “guns and domestic abuse are a deadly combination.”

Also at the hearing, Mr. Rahimi’s attorney, assistant federal public defender Matthew Wright, said that when Congress enacted the law in 1994, it acted without the benefit of recent Supreme Court rulings that bolstered the Second Amendment.

“So we shouldn’t be surprised that they missed the mark. They made a one-sided proceeding that is short a complete proxy for a total denial of a fundamental and individual constitutional right,” the lawyer said at the time.

From The Epoch Times