SCOTUS will decide whether subjects of domestic-violence restraining orders can be banned from gun ownership
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide the constitutionality of a federal law that bans gun ownership by people subject to domestic-violence restraining orders.
The law is Section 922(g)(8) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. It bans possession of a firearm by anyone who is deemed by a judge to be a “credible threat” to an intimate partner or to that person’s child after notice and a court hearing.
The 5th Circuit had evaluated the law under the standard set by the Supreme Court in June 2022 in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. In that case, the Supreme Court said courts evaluating gun regulations should look to “the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
Using the Bruen approach, the 5th Circuit struck down the federal law, holding that it is an “outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted.”
The case stems from a civil protective order issued in the case of Zackey Rahimi, an alleged drug dealer accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the wrists during an argument in 2019 in Arlington, Texas, and knocking her to the ground, according to the federal government’s cert petition. He then allegedly dragged her into his car, causing her to hit her head on the dashboard.
When Rahimi realized that a bystander had seen the incident, he retrieved a gun and fired a shot. The girlfriend fled the scene. A judge issued a restraining order in February 2020 that banned Rahimi from possessing firearms. He was arrested for violating the order in August 2020 when he tried to communicate with the now-ex-girlfriend on social media and approached her home at night.
Rahimi was then accused of threatening a different woman with a gun. Rahimi was next accused of participating in five shootings, leading police to obtain obtain a search warrant. Police found guns and ammunition at Rahimi’s home.
According to the New York Times, the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case “was seen by lawyers on both sides of the issue as an attempt to define the parameters of the Bruen ruling and to perhaps provide a clearer set of standards.”
The case is United States v. Rahimi.
The SCOTUSblog case page is here.