The US Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear a case asking whether banning firearms from people subject to domestic-violence restraining orders violates the Second Amendment. The case is an appeal from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.The lawsuit specifically asks whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) violates the Second Amendment. According to the petition for a writ of certiorari, that law makes it unlawful for persons subject to a court restraining order to possess a firearm.
For the law in question to forbid someone from owning a firearm, multiple things must occur. First, a court must issue an order after giving the person notice and an opportunity to be heard. Next, the court order must forbid the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an “intimate partner,” the person’s child or an intimate partner’s child. Lastly, the order must either (1) include a finding that the person poses a “credible threat” to the physical safety of the intimate partner or child or (2) explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner or child.
The case, United States v. Zackey Rahimi, involves a person who was subject to a domestic abuse-related court order and later involved in several shooting incidents. The Fifth Circuit ruled that the law was unconstitutional. The court largely based its decision on the Supreme Court ruling last year in New York Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen. In Bruen, the Supreme Court struck down a New York state law prohibiting open carry in public places, holding that the law failed to pass an originalist reading of the Second Amendment.
The Fifth Circuit concluded that, although Rahimi was “hardly a model citizen,” he was not a “convicted felon” or otherwise excluded from the Second Amendment’s scope. Additionally, the Fifth Circuit concluded that the law violated the Second Amendment on its face because it failed to comport to the nation’s “historical tradition” under the Supreme Court standard in Bruen.
The United States, as petitioner in the case, argues that the Fifth Circuit’s ruling was incorrect and should be overturned. The US notes that the decision “threatens grave consequences for the safety of victims of domestic violence, law-enforcement officers, and the public.” Several amicus briefs were filed in the case, such as California Governor Gavin Newsom’s brief in support of the United States. Newsom’s brief argues that “the Fifth Circuit’s decision threatens the lives of countless Americans, enabling entirely foreseeable acts of gun violence.”