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Will New Supreme Court Gun Case Pose Problems For Firearms Groups?

Zackey Rahimi's legal troubles began in 2019 when pulled out a gun and fired at a passerby who witnessed him dragging his girlfriend through a parking lot. Months later, after getting into an accident, Rahimi repeatedly shot at the other driver. A year later, he threatened a woman with a gun and was charged with aggravated assault. In 2021, he fired several times into the air after a friend's credit card was declined at a burger joint near Fort Worth, Tex. Rahimi's case is now before the Supreme Court in a Second Amendment challenge that may prove thorny for the gun lobby and the court's conservative wing, USA Today reports. That's because Rahimi is challenging his conviction under a federal law that bars people who are subject to restraining orders from owning guns. “The facts of this case make it really unpalatable for them to have to stand up and say, 'No, we believe that domestic abusers have a Second Amendment right to their firearms,'" said Nick Suplina of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Politically speaking, that's deeply unpopular.”

Some gun rights groups pushed back on that characterization, arguing that even if Rahimi himself is an unsympathetic figure, the federal law is still inconsistent with the Second Amendment. Rahimi could have gone to jail for any number of other crimes. As part of his challenge, Rahimi is relying on a standard the high court set last year that makes it easier for people to keep their guns. In a 6-3 opinion invalidating a New York gun licensing law, the court's conservative majority ruled that gun regulations must be "consistent with this nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation" to survive court challenges. That has set off research by gun control advocates to find regulations from the nation's founding era that a court may view as analogous to a modern-day gun prohibition. Rahimi argues that because there was no regulation that banned guns from people subject to restraining orders at the time of the nation's founding, the federal law that prohibits that ownership today must fall. A federal appeals court in New Orleans sided with Rahimi, acknowledging he was "hardly a model citizen" but ruling that the law prohibiting him from owning a gun is an "outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted."


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