Supreme Court hears arguments for case to determine if domestic abusers should have access to guns

Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 6:27 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments for a case centering around a federal gun law that some say violates the second amendment. But others say upholding the law could be a matter of life or death for domestic abuse victims.

The law in question prohibits anyone under a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a gun. It comes before the high court after a Texas man named Zackey Rahimi challenged the law, saying it violates his second amendment rights.

“They made a one sided proceeding that is short a complete proxy for a total denial of a fundamental and individual constitutional right,” said J. Matthew Wright, Rahimi’s lawyer.

Rahimi was subject to a restraining order after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend in a parking lot in 2019 and then fired a gun when he noticed a witness.

The arguments for Rahimi state that the law is not supported by American history and tradition.

“It feels like what the government is doing is looking down the dark well of American history and seeing only a reflection of itself in the 20th and 21st century and saying that’s what history shows,” said Wright.

The fifth circuit court of appeals ruled in favor or Rahimi earlier this year.

The federal government argued Tuesday that the circuit court made an error and said throughout the country’s history, there is a tradition of disarming those are not law abiding and responsible.

“Throughout our nation’s history, legislatures have disarmed those who have committed serious criminal conduct or whose access to guns poses a danger, for example, loyalists, rebels, minors, individuals with mental illness, felons, and drug addicts.” said Elizabeth Prelogar, U.S. Solicitor General.

During the arguments, it seemed like some of the justices were not convinced by Rahimi’s lawyer.

“The honest truth. Mr. Wright, I feel like you’re running away from your argument,” said Justice Elena Kagan. “Because the implications of your argument are just so untenable that you have to say, no, that’s not really my argument. I mean, it just seems to me that your argument applies to a wide variety of disarming actions, bans, what have you, that we take for granted then, because it’s it’s so obvious that people who have guns pose a great danger to others.”

“The court seemed very skeptical of Rahimi’s attorney and his argument that the federal law prohibiting people from possessing firearms who are under domestic violence protective orders was unconstitutional because this law or this conduct wasn’t regulated specifically back in the founding era. It was a very restrictive view, a very narrow view,” said Tim Carey, Law Policy Advisor at Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.