A US Circuit Court Thursday declared the law preventing those subject to a domestic violence restraining order from owning a gun, unconstitutional. In the case of United States v. Rahimi, the US Appeals Court for the Fifth Circuit found that the law was an unconstitutional restraint on Americans’ Second Amendment rights to own a firearm.
Zackey Rahimi was involved in various shootings in Texas between December 2020 and January 2021. When the police had searched Mr. Rahimi’s home, they had found two firearms. Rahimi admitted to possessing the weapons and to being subject to a civil protective order. The restraining order arose out of Mr. Rahimi’s assault of his girlfriend with a firearm. The order prevented Rahimi from harassing, stalking, or threatening his ex-girlfriend and prohibited him from owning a gun. Mr. Rahimi was then indicted and charged with violating 18 U.S.C § 922(g), which prevents an individual subject to a domestic restraining order from possessing a firearm. He pled guilty to the charges.
Upon appeal, Mr. Rahimi argued that under the US Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, § 922(g) is unconstitutional. The appeals court agreed, finding that the statute treated Second Amendment rights differently than other individual rights and was too broad. In Bruen, the Supreme Court overturned a New York law requiring a show of special need to receive a license for concealed carry. The court determined that mandating a “special need” for a weapon was an unconstitutional restriction on individual rights.
Utilizing the principles established in Bruen, the appeals court in Mr. Rahimi’s case determined that the statute’s restrictions on firearm possession goes against the country’s tradition of protecting Second Amendment rights. Hence, Mr. Rahimi’s conviction for possession of a firearm was vacated.