The Supreme Court today will hear arguments that will test the 30-year-old federal ban on firearms for people under domestic violence restraining orders.
The case, U.S. v. Rahimi, is set to be a test of the popular gun safety regulation and the Second Amendment as an estimated 12 million American adults are victims of domestic abuse every year.
The gun ban is being challenged by Zackey Rahimi, a Texas drug dealer with a history of violence, who was indicted on charges of illegal gun possession while under a protective order secured by his girlfriend.
“This statute actually ends up disarming a bunch of law-abiding or otherwise good people that you might not expect when you first look at it,” said Aidan Johnston, a lobbyist with Gun Owners of America, which is backing Rahimi. “We’re fighting for the victims here who are disarmed by mutual restraining orders.”
The Biden administration, which is defending the law, insists the nation has a broad history and tradition of disarming people who are not “responsible, law-abiding citizens” — even if there is no exact historical replica of a law targeting domestic abusers.
Two of the six conservative justices have suggested they are wary of going too far.
- Brett Kavanaugh: “Properly interpreted, the Second Amendment allows a ‘variety’ of gun regulations.”
- Amy Coney Barrett: Wrote as an appeals court judge that some limits are entirely constitutional, including restrictions on “dangerous people.”
According to the CDC, 70 die every month from being shot by an intimate partner.
The high court is taking up the legislation one year after a landmark decision that struck down a century-old New York law that limited concealed handguns in public. The ruling said only laws “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” can be allowed.
Listen below to oral arguments: