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Justices To Decide Case On Domestic Violence Suspects' Gun Rights

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.


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