US Supreme Court Upholds Gun Ban for Domestic-Violence Offenders

US Supreme Court Upholds Gun Ban for Domestic Abusers

In a pivotal decision, the US Supreme Court affirmed a federal law prohibiting individuals under domestic-violence restraining orders from possessing firearms, marking a notable limitation on recent expansions of constitutional gun rights. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented in the 8-1 ruling, emphasizing Second Amendment protections.

Chief Justice John Roberts’ Stance

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, underscored the longstanding tradition of regulating firearms to disarm those deemed hazardous to public safety. He highlighted that the Second Amendment does not extend to individuals posing a credible threat to others.

Chief Justice Roberts rightly balances public safety with Second Amendment rights against credible threats, according to WSJ Subscription Offers.

Implications of the Bruen Decision

This ruling marks the first application of the court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen, affirming the right to carry handguns in public while emphasizing historical precedents in weapons laws.

Limitations and Unresolved Issues

While favoring the Biden administration’s stance, the decision did not fully adopt the Justice Department’s request to restrict Second Amendment protections solely to “law-abiding responsible citizens.” The court’s decision leaves questions unresolved regarding firearm bans for drug users and those convicted of nonviolent felonies, with pending appeals expected.

Legal Background and Precedents

The case stemmed from a 1994 law that has blocked thousands of gun sales. The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals had previously struck down the law, prompting the Supreme Court’s review. Roberts criticized the 5th Circuit’s interpretation, clarifying the court’s stance on historical analogues rather than exact precedents from 1791.


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Diverse Judicial Opinions

While agreeing with the decision, justices penned separate opinions reflecting varied interpretations of Second Amendment jurisprudence. Justice Neil Gorsuch emphasized adherence to textual and historical analysis, aligning with the Bruen framework.

Criticism and Dissent

Justice Clarence Thomas argued against the law’s broad application, citing concerns over revoking gun rights without specific criminal convictions. He reiterated the Second Amendment’s role in limiting governmental restrictions on firearms.

Case Details and Background

The case involved Zackey Rahimi, accused of multiple shootings and threats following a domestic-violence restraining order. Police discovered firearms in Rahimi’s possession, leading to his indictment under the contested federal law.

Response from Government and Advocates

President Joe Biden praised the ruling as crucial for protecting domestic violence survivors, echoing Attorney General Merrick Garland’s support for the law as consistent with constitutional precedent. Gun-rights advocates expressed mixed reactions, acknowledging safety concerns while cautioning against overly broad restrictions.

This decision follows the court’s recent rulings on gun-related issues, reflecting ongoing debates over the balance between public safety and Second Amendment rights in the United States.


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