ROCKVILLE, MD – Today, in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action called on the United States Supreme Court to disarm domestic abusers ahead of oral arguments in United States v. Rahimi. During the press conference in Rockville, Maryland, speakers included Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action, Senator Will Smith, Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, Montgomery County Court Watch Executive Director Leslie Hawes, Montgomery County States Attorney John McCarthy and Montgomery County Sheriff Maxwell Uy. Additionally, Representative Jamie Raskin provided written remarks.
Next month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Rahimi, the case that centers on the longstanding federal law prohibiting individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms, which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held unconstitutional this past February. If the Supreme Court affirms the Fifth Circuit’s shocking decision, it will upend a critical protection that has been in place for almost 30 years, allowing domestic abusers to possess firearms under federal law and putting domestic violence survivors in all 50 states and Washington D.C. at risk for gun violence.
“We will not sit by while a small group of judges decide whether our safety and our lives mean more than the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “That’s why we’re here today, calling on the Supreme Court to disarm abusers and stand up for survivors. Now is the time to get loud. Now is the time to mobilize and get off the sidelines. In Maryland and across the country, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers are standing up to make sure that everyone knows the Supreme Court’s decision whether or not to arm convicted domestic abusers will protect or destroy the lives of families across the country.”
“Leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time for a survivor, and if their abuser has access to a gun it only becomes more dangerous,” said Leslie Hawes, Executive Director of Montgomery County Court Watch. “It takes a village to keep our survivors safe. More often than not, it’s an uphill battle. But, make no mistake, if the Supreme Court rules to arm abusers, the challenges we face in helping survivors to break free will triple. If the Supreme Court rules to arm abusers, organizations like Montgomery County Court Watch across the country will be set up for failure. To put it bluntly, if the Supreme Court rules to arm abusers, people will die.”
“The Fifth Circuit’s decision in the Rahimi case creates a significant risk to the safety of women and families living in domestic violence situations. I am very concerned that if the Supreme Court upholds the Fifth Circuit’s decision in the Rahimi matter, the lives of domestic violence survivors around the country may be endangered by abusers that are allowed to possess firearms,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Maxwell Uy. “Gun laws that protect victims of domestic abuse are common-sense, have long bipartisan support, and are among the most important public safety laws in the country.”
“If the Supreme Court upholds the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Rahimi, it would move us in the wrong direction,” said Joanna Pearl, a volunteer with Maryland Moms Demand Action. “It would endanger the lives of domestic violence survivors around the country by allowing abusers to possess firearms under federal law. People with dangerous, abusive, and violent histories simply shouldn’t be able to access deadly weapons. The Supreme Court must reverse this dangerous decision.”
To speak with an expert about United States v. Rahimi, please contact [email protected]