The Supreme Court will decide next term whether people subject to domestic-violence protective orders have a Second Amendment right to be armed. The case comes a year after the court issued a ruling that expanded gun rights and adopted a legal approach that bases the constitutionality of weapons regulations on whether similar laws existed early in the nation’s history, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Biden administration is appealing a ruling that voided the conviction of Zackey Rahimi of Arlington, Tex.,, for possessing firearms while under a domestic-violence restraining order. A 1994 federal law disarmed individuals whom courts have ordered to stop threatening an intimate partner after finding they pose a credible threat. Judges attempting to apply the Supreme Court’s guidance in its 2022 decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, have issued conflicting rulings on whether the 1994 law is constitutional.
Police in 2021 executed a warrant to search Rahimi’s home after suspecting his involvement in shootings, finding a pistol, a rifle and ammunition, along with a copy of the restraining order against him. His ex-girlfriend obtained the two-year protection order in February 2020, alleging that Rahimi physically abused her, threatened to kill her while brandishing a gun and fired a gun at her vehicle while she tried to flee him. The order restrained him from harassing, stalking or threatening his ex-girlfriend and their child. A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the domestic-abuser law violated the Second Amendment. The defendant, “while hardly a model citizen, is nonetheless among ‘the people’ entitled to the Second Amendment’s guarantees,” said Judge Cory Wilson. The Rahimi case could clarify when misconduct or dangerousness strips a citizen of Second Amendment rights. The Fifth Circuit concluded the domestic-abuse gun law didn’t have adequate historical support. A California federal judge declared the same statute constitutional. Judges have disagreed on whether gun rights should be extended to marijuana users, people convicted of nonviolent crimes and defendants under felony indictment.