Supreme Court upholds federal gun law designed to protect domestic violence victims

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The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a federal gun law, rejecting the challenge of its constitutionality by a man who was federally banned from possession of a gun due to being subject to a restraining order in a domestic violence case.

The court heard the case of U.S. v. Rahimi in November, delving into the complex issue of what constitutes “dangerousness,” and how it pertains to Second Amendment protections. Its ruling was issued Friday.

The question before the Court revolved around whether a person such as Zackey Rahimi, who is subject to domestic-violence restraining orders, should be barred from possessing firearms under federal law.

The mainstream media, including the New York Times and POLITICO, falsely reported that domestic abusers cannot possess guns, while the ruling clearly applies only to those with restraining orders.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the 32-page opinion for the majority, said that the law applies common sense.

“When an individual has been found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another, that individual may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment,” he wrote.

“Since the Founding, the Nation’s firearm laws have included regulations to stop individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms. As applied to the facts here, Section 922(g)(8) fits within this tradition,” Roberts wrote.

“The right to keep and bear arms is among the ‘fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty,’” he wrote, citing McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 778. “That right, however, ‘is not unlimited.” …

In an important aside, Roberts added that the Second Amendment does not jut apply to the muskets that were in use when the Constitution was ratified.

“The reach of the Second Amendment is not limited only to those arms that were in existence at the Founding. Heller, 554 U. S., at 582. Rather, it “extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not [yet] in existence.” Ibid. By that same logic, the Second Amendment permits more than just regulations identical to those existing in
1791,” Roberts wrote.

Throughout the arguments in November, 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 by the justices had repeatedly circled back to the fundamental query of what specific conduct might cancel a person’s Second Amendment rights to possess firearms. At the time of the discussion, the majority of the court appeared inclined to uphold the federal law in question.

Friday’s decision reverses a lower court ruling that found the law to be in violation of the Second Amendment.

Read the court’s opinion at this Supreme Court link.

17 COMMENTS

  1. The best protection is, of course, to arm the woman and train her up. The cops will not defend her in a timely fashion, and there is nothing stopping the offender from purchasing a gun illegally.

    • You are so right! Sam Colt made all men and women equal. Most women I know carry a gun some of the time just about every day. Most self-defense situations do not entail shooting as a would-be assailant should and probably will retreat if the woman is armed. And when seconds count the police are at least minutes away. Women tell me that a pistol in the purse is reassuring when walking to the car at night.

      Shooting is fun. Dry-firing at home is very worthwhile and can bring a calmness to an otherwise hectic day. At current component prices a hand-loaded box of 50 cartridges, 9 mm or .38 Special, cost me about $3.50, but dry-firing is free.

  2. Thank you for this news. I have not read the opinion but will do so. On balance I agree with its general direction even as I abhor most any crimping of 2A. As gun control politics go this detail is asymmetrical. Democrats weigh this one far more than do the people who believe in the Bill of Rights, so this ruling will reduce the Democrats’ general panic over 2A without costing much in the way of American freedoms.

    Also, the ruling is seen a direction signal on similar 2A matters such as banning felons from using guns or even living in housing that contains a gun. As with this ruling, I agree that felons should not have guns. In this current era felons who should have served 50 years are out in 5 years due to plea bargaining, relief for good behavior, DEI, etc.

    No question that some divorce attorneys will use this to put the squeeze on the other party to bargain for a better deal for their client. Nothing is perfect.

    On the matter of domestic violence: Women need to arm themselves and know how to use a gun. Nothing could be simpler. If a fellow is going to hit you then empty the gun in him. Don’t talk to the police until you have met with your attorney and have your attorney with you.

    If Trump wins we can realistically hope that this court will continue to read the constitution the way it was taught to me in grade school and high school over 60 years ago; that is, the way the document is actually written. If Biden wins we can expect he will continue to try to take our guns, every day and in every way.

  3. So a spiteful girlfriend can get a restraining order and POOF there goes your constitutional rights? Ya that certainly won’t be abused and good luck getting your guns back! The communists will use every dity trick to circumvent the 2A

    • Better that the law is abused occasionally than a single woman be killed by a gun-toting ex. Deal with it, and find something else to love besides your stash of weapons and ammo.

      • When any judge permits any law to be abused, then the law becomes an instrument of tyranny. And this is most especially true of any court’s abuse of the citizens’ right to keep and bear arms.

        While I approve of this ruling, ‘we the people’ must never tolerate the abuse of any of our rights. And, yes, I jealously love my right to keep and bear my arms – along with my very ample stash of ammo.

        • “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment right is not unlimited…. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

          Justice Antonin Scalia 
DC v Heller

          • Written as if you never actually read that opinion.
            Try it. You might find out how ridiculous you actually sound when you cite that out of context.

      • Wel, mutt, maybe it’s better that you be silenced, rather than allow you to advocate taking the rights and property of others.. if harming just one person can be prevented. So what if you are muffled?

  4. Sometimes the crazy ex needs to be disarmed, regardless of their sex. Crazy out of control people should not have fire arms. People who tell lies to have another’s rights curtailed should be prosecuted under all governing statutes. Don’t become involved with crazy, mentally unstable people and your rights will most likely never be abused. Remain in control of your emotions at all times, better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to run off at the mouth and remove all doubt. Anyone who is thinks abusing the rights of a citizen is acceptable is nothing more than a common criminal. Right Whidby?

  5. Justice Thomas was correct in his dissent: How is it that one can be deprived of their 2nd Amendment rights without benefit of a trial or conviction? Cheers –

  6. The groups bringing the case made a poor choice of plaintiffs.. Rahimi was just the sort of knucklehead that probably shouldn’t have guns available: history of threatening people with violence. He did it.. now he’s crying about the consequences

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