Supreme Court Case Puts Gun Rights Activists in Sticky Situation

Supreme Court Case Puts Gun Rights Activists in Sticky Situation

( – The Second Amendment of the Constitution is one of the inalienable rights Americans possess. However, like the right to vote and freedom of speech, the right to own a firearm comes with some restrictions. An amendment of the 1968 Gun Control Act prohibits individuals convicted of misdemeanor or felony domestic violence, or those under a domestic violence restraining order, from owning or possessing guns.

A domestic abuser successfully challenged the federal law in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and now the case is headed to the Supreme Court.

Not a Model Citizen

In 2019, Zackey Rahimi physically attacked his significant other. Afterward, he told her he would shoot her if she told anybody what he had done. She then filed a restraining order against him in a Texas court, and a judge granted her request. From that moment, federal law prohibited Rahimi from possessing a firearm.

Ten months later, on December 1, Rahimi sold drugs to a man and then shot into his home. The next day, the suspect got into an accident and fired a gun at the other driver. He fled the scene afterward and returned later to once again fire at the other driver. On December 22, he shot at a constable’s vehicle. A couple of weeks later, on January 7, he fired shots into the air at a Whataburger restaurant. Officers with the Arlington Police Department later arrested him, and a federal grand jury indicted him for violating the law prohibiting him from carrying a gun with a restraining order against him.

Rahimi pleaded guilty to the gun crimes and was sentenced to federal prison. He later appealed the decision based on the 2022 New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen precedent. The Fifth Circuit determined that even though he was “hardly a model citizen,” he was “entitled to the Second Amendment’s guarantees.”

DOJ Objects

In the Bruen ruling, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion and specifically stated that the Second Amendment protects “the right of an ordinary, law-abiding citizen” to possess a gun for self-defense. In its petition to the SCOTUS, the DOJ argues the Fifth Circuit “overlooked the strong historical evidence supporting the general principle that the government may disarm dangerous individuals.”

If the Supreme Court determines the Fifth Circuit got the case right, it would upend domestic violence laws nationwide. Violent offenders would once again be allowed to carry guns unless they’d been convicted of a felony. Rahimi’s attorneys argue that the Founding Fathers chose not to include language excluding domestic abusers, therefore, the court should reject the government’s appeal.

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