Supreme Court Upholds Gun Law Protecting Domestic Violence Victims

( – Eight of nine Supreme Court Justices ruled to uphold a federal law barring individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms on June 21. The Court’s ruling marked a reversal of the Fifth Circuit Court’s decision in United States v. Rahimi.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Court opinion with all Justices except Clarence Thomas concurring. Moreover, Roberts acknowledged that lower courts have struggled with the test outlined by Justice Thomas in his majority opinion for Bruen. Expanding on the concept, Roberts wrote that courts should consider how “relevantly similar” a new law is to constitutionally traditional laws.

Rather than trying to find and apply a “historical twin” law, Roberts argued lower courts could satisfy the test by finding “historical analogue[s]” which served similar intents. In the Rahimi case, he pointed to early American and colonial English laws that provided courts and law enforcement officials with the ability to disarm individuals when they threatened others with violence or guns.

In the Rahimi case, a court entered a protective order against Zackey Rahmini in 2020 after he forcibly dragged his girlfriend to his car when she tried to leave him following a disagreement. He forced her into the vehicle, causing her to injure her head on the dashboard. He also fired a gun at a witness to the assault.

Police searched Rahimi’s home a few months later after obtaining a warrant. Prosecutors charged him with violating federal law after finding a pistol and rifle in his home while the restraining order remained in force.

Before the Fifth Circuit, Rahimi’s legal team argued the federal law violated the Second Amendment and SCOTUS precedent, based on the Bruen ruling, having no “historical twin.” The Fifth Circuit ruled that while the government had no burden to identify a historical twin, it also didn’t provide a “well-established and representative analogue” that would allow the federal law to survive.

The SCOTUS disagreed. Yet, Justice Thomas wrote the only dissenting opinion. He said that the early examples cited by Roberts were too dissimilar to the federal ban to serve as analogues, agreeing with the Fifth Circuit. Instead, Thomas argued that stripping someone’s Second Amendment right based on a complaint, without an accusation of wrongdoing, a trial, or a conviction, becomes a miscarriage of justice.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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