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Court Likely To Uphold Disarming People With Protective Orders

Supreme Court Justices on both sides of the court's ideological divide seem to be leaning toward upholding a federal statue disarming people who are subject to domestic violence protective orders, the Washington Post reports. The justices seem to think the Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from restricting firearm possession among individuals who are found to be a danger. The backdrop was fallout from the court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which requires the government to point to historical analogues when defending laws that limit Second Amendment rights. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar, representing the Biden administration, said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit — considering a Texas man arrested for possessing guns after a state court had imposed a restraining order — had “profoundly erred” in finding that a federal law meant to protect victims of domestic abuse was unconstitutional. Only Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. closely questioned Prelogar’s defense of the law.

The challenge to the domestic-violence order restrictions was brought by Zackey Rahimi, a drug dealer who was placed under a restraining order after a 2019 argument with his girlfriend in a parking lot turned violent. Rahimi knocked the woman to the ground, dragged her back to his car, picked her up and pushed her inside and fired a shot at a bystander. The girlfriend escaped, but Rahimi later called her and threatened to shoot her if she told anyone about the assault.

A Texas court issued a protective order that suspended his gun license, prohibited him from having guns and warned him that possessing a firearm while the order remained in effect might be a federal felony. Rahimi continued to fire guns in public. In early 2021, Rahimi was arrested at his Texas home and charged with illegally possessing a weapon. Rahimi said his right to a gun was protected by the Second Amendment. After a judge ruled against him on that issue, he pleaded guilty to the federal charge and received a sentence of six years in prison. He continued to challenge the law, and the 5th Circuit reheard his case after Bruen was decided.

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