A case argued today at the Supreme Court has potential implications for the safety of individuals in abusive relationships and could also impact gun laws in many states. At the heart of the case is a federal law that currently prohibits individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns.
Several organizations, including Ruth Glenn’s national advocacy group for domestic violence victims, are urging the Supreme Court to uphold this law. Glenn, herself a survivor of domestic violence, shared her personal experience of being shot three times by her abuser after leaving the relationship. The defendant in the case, Zaki Rahime, was convicted of violating the law after assaulting and threatening to shoot his ex-girlfriend while under a protective order.
Today, Rahime’s lawyer argued that the law infringes on Second Amendment rights. However, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that Rahime’s dangerous behavior, including multiple alleged shooting incidents, raises doubts about his argument. The outcome of this case could have significant ramifications for modern gun laws and background checks. Over the past 25 years, the law in question has prevented approximately 78,000 individuals under protective orders from purchasing firearms.
The Supreme Court appears inclined to maintain the law, with Justice Elena Kagan emphasizing the importance of denying guns to those with a history of domestic violence. Since the Supreme Court’s recognition of the individual right to bear arms, there has been confusion regarding the constitutionality of various gun laws in lower courts. This case has the potential to provide much-needed clarity and guidance on other gun regulations, including the prohibition of specific types of weapons..