Supreme Court Upholds Law Preventing Domestic Abusers From Owning Guns

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An 8-1 Supreme Court upheld a federal rule prohibiting domestic abusers from owning firearms, declaring Friday that the Second Amendment allows for the temporary disarming of persons who are deemed a threat to others.

The case was the first big test of the conservative majority’s new approach to gun rights, as outlined in a 2022 decision asserting that weapons rules can only pass muster if they are similar to those familiar to Americans from the foundation era nearly 250 years ago.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that, while gun restrictions must be consistent with historical patterns, it is a mistake to imply that firearms controls must remain “trapped in amber.”

For decades, he argued, English and American law have enabled the disarming of those who were deemed a threat to public safety.

Only Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the 2022 opinion that expanded Second Amendment protections, dissented. “Not a single historical regulation justifies the statute at issue,” he claimed in his dissent.

The decision overturns a New Orleans federal appeals court finding that invalidated a 1994 federal rule prohibiting those under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms.

The Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals reasoned that such safeguards were unknown during the founding era.

The case centered on Zackey Rahimi, who had not been convicted of a crime when a Texas court issued him a restraining order after assaulting his fiancée in a parking lot and shooting at a bystander who observed the incident.

Rahimi continued to discharge weapons after receiving the restraining order, including shooting in the air at a fast-food drive-through, which resulted in his conviction under the 1994 law.

The Justice Department said in its Supreme Court appeal that the Second Amendment was never believed to grant dangerous persons the freedom to own firearms.

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