The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of U.S. v. Rahimi on Tuesday morning, delving into the complex issue of what constitutes “dangerousness,” and how it pertains to Second Amendment protections.
The question before the Court revolves around whether a person subject to domestic-violence restraining orders should be barred from possessing firearms under federal law.
Throughout the arguments, the Justices showed interest in the history of domestic violence in the United States and the specific terms of the federal gun ban for those under restraining orders.
However, the discussion repeatedly circled back to the fundamental query of what specific conduct might cancel a person’s Second Amendment rights to possess firearms.
A majority of the Court appeared inclined to uphold the federal law in question. That could mean a reversal of a lower court ruling that found the law to be a violation of the Second Amendment, citing last year’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett was particularly interested in this concept of “dangerousness.” She pondered out loud, “Could I just say that it’s ‘dangerousness’? Let’s say that I agree with you that when you look back at surety laws and affray laws, etc., it shows that the legislature can make judgments to disarm people consistent with the Second Amendment based on dangerousness. Why can’t I just say that?”
Similar questions were posed by others on the bench, which could signal the court will sharpen up its earlier Bruen decision relating to a New York law that said people have to show “proper cause” for wanting a firearms license.
he question is now whether the government can disarm a citizen who is deemed dangerous, or if it could do so using other criteria it drums up in the future. The ramification for setting a “dangerousness” standard could have unintended consequences in the law, such as: Can non-violent felons own guns?