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DOJ Seeks Quick Supreme Court to Action On Guns, Domestic Violence

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision that struck down a federal law prohibiting gun possession for people under domestic violence restraining orders, Roll Call reports. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit based its decision on a Supreme Court case from last year that expanded Second Amendment rights and has led other courts to strike down gun restrictions. In a petition urging quick action, the Justice Department argued that governments have “long disarmed” people who present a threat to other people’s safety. "And if allowed to stand, [the lower court ruling] would thwart Congress’s considered judgment that persons who have been found to be a threat to their intimate partners or children should not be permitted to acquire or possess firearms," the DOJ brief states. Millions of Americans will be victims of intimate-partner abuse and the risk of homicide rises when there's a gun in a house that has a domestic abuser, the government wrote.

“The Fifth Circuit’s contrary decision misapplies this Court’s precedents, conflicts with the decisions of other courts of appeals, and threatens grave harms for victims of domestic violence,” said DOJ. The government said it filed the petition on an expedited schedule to allow the court to determine before recessing for the summer whether it will take up the case. Federal law prohibits people from possessing a firearm if they are subject to a court order that restrains them from harassing or threatening an intimate partner. The 5th Circuit pointed to the Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which laid out a legal test of sorts for gun rules that looks to the tradition and history of the Constitution’s Second Amendment. The appeals court found the government failed to show that the statute’s “restriction of the Second Amendment right fits within our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”


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