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Leading Gun Violence Prevention Organizations Respond to Supreme Court’s Hearing in United States v. Rahimi

November 7, 2023

Washington, D.C. (November 7, 2023) – Immediately following oral arguments before the Supreme Court in United States v. Rahimi, the nation’s leading gun violence prevention organizations released the following statements:

“Today, both inside and outside the Supreme Court, one thing was crystal clear: arming domestic abusers under restraining orders would be an outrageous, devastating and lethal mistake,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. As we heard today, if the Supreme Court rules to arm abusers, it would mean that the nation’s highest court has put women and families across the country in danger, forcing survivors to live in fear that their abusers can get access to deadly weapons. The Supreme Court cannot allow domestic abusers a blank check to buy and possess guns. It must overturn the Fifth Circuit’s decision.” 

“The Fifth Circuit’s reckless decision puts countless lives at risk and goes against legal precedent and settled constitutional jurisprudence. Removing firearms from people under qualifying domestic violence restraining orders is common-sense, life-saving, and consistent with the Constitution, and that is what the Solicitor General argued today.” said Douglas Letter, Chief Legal Officer of Brady. “The Supreme Court must now decide if it stands with victims of domestic abuse or a warped and distorted view of the Second Amendment constructed by the gun industry, which will only lead to more violence, particularly against women and children. The law challenged in this case is integral to protecting some of the most vulnerable Americans.” 

“People subject to domestic violence restraining orders should not be able to access firearms,” said Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Founder of GIFFORDS. History and precedent allow for reasonable regulations of firearms. Women and children’s lives are worth more than an abusive partner’s right to own a gun. Lives are literally on the line with this decision, and I urge the court to do what is right.”

“Young people will not stand down while the far right and the gun lobby try to take away our right to live, and we will not stand down while our right, our fundamental right, to live free of gun violence, is threatened,” said Natalie Fall, Executive Director of March For Our Lives. “Let’s be clear: Gun violence is a choice that our leaders are forcing on us. Forcing on young people. Forcing on domestic violence survivors. And it’s a choice now that the Supreme Court has. Young people are inheriting our future now. Not tomorrow, or in the next election, or ten years from now. This is the world we are inheriting. And we are not going to accept a world where the gun lobby has more rights than we do.”

Supporters of the United States’ case in defense of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) — the law that ensures an individual who is subject to a qualifying domestic violence restraining order cannot possess a firearm — include a wide-ranging, bipartisan coalition of gun violence prevention groups, anti-domestic violence advocates, public health researchers, legal advocacy organizations, political leaders and states, academics, religious entities, prosecutors against gun violence, and gun owners from across the country.

Previous press briefings featuring gun violence prevention advocates and legal experts can be found HERE and HERE.

Background on United States v. Rahimi

United States v. Rahimi concerns whether the Second Amendment — as interpreted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen — invalidates a federal law that prohibits those subject to certain domestic violence protective orders from possessing firearms. Almost all U.S. states and territories have similar existing laws.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Rahimi will clarify the meaning of the new Second Amendment standard established under Bruen. It will also determine the extent of Congress’ power to pass laws that disarm individuals who are not “law-abiding, responsible” citizens — in this case, dangerous abusers subject to domestic violence protection orders. 

Firearms are the most common weapons used in domestic violence homicides, with female intimate partners more likely to be murdered with a gun than by all other means combined. In fact, the mere presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times as likely that a woman will be killed. Given the deep interconnection between gun violence and domestic abuse, the outcome in United States v. Rahimi could be an extremely dangerous threat to public safety and to society as a whole, particularly for survivors and those at risk of domestic violence — a disproportionate majority of whom are women, children, and members of underserved communities.

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