AG Merrick Garland Urges Supreme Court to Restore Ban on Firearms in Domestic Violence Cases

The federal rule that prohibits people under domestic violence-related restraining orders from carrying firearms was declared illegal by an appeals court decision, and the Biden administration formally petitioned the Supreme Court to review the decision.

The latest petition (pdf) in United States v. Rahimi, court file 22-915, which was docketed by the Supreme Court on March 21, was submitted by U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

Prelogar requested the Supreme Court to swiftly review the government's petition in the hopes that the court would "examine the petition before it vacations for the summer" because the appeals court decision has "major disruptive repercussions."

Prelogar stated in his opinion that the appeals court "ignored the strong historical evidence supporting the general principle that the government may disarm dangerous individuals."

The request was made after Section 922(g)(8) of Title 18 of the United States Code, a 1994 law that forbids someone under a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a gun, was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in February.

The landmark New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decision by the Supreme Court in June 2022 led the 5th Circuit to reach the conclusion that the legislation was no longer constitutional. According to that ruling, gun control measures must be firmly founded in American history in order to pass constitutional muster.

The circuit court declared in its decision that the prohibition on a person's possession of weapons while subject to a domestic restraining order "is an outlier that our forefathers would never have embraced."

Texas resident Zackey Rahimi is involved in the case; he already pleaded guilty to breaking the law. After the restraining order was issued against Rahimi in February 2020, he was involved in five shooting incidents. Rahimi requested a review of his conviction from the courts following the Bruen ruling because of the evolving legal doctrine surrounding the Second Amendment.

Rahimi must respond to the fresh petition by April 20th, per the Supreme Court's directive.

As they work to make their decisions consistent with the guidelines established in Bruen, courts around the nation are currently busy entertaining challenges to gun regulations. New York is one state that defied Bruen and approved new gun laws that Second Amendment supporters are challenging in court.

After the 5th Circuit opinion was released, US Attorney General Merrick Garland criticized it.

Garland stated, "Almost 30 years ago, Congress decided that a person subject to a court order prohibiting him or her from threatening an intimate partner or child cannot lawfully own a handgun.

The act is constitutional, he declared at the time, "whether evaluated through the prism of Supreme Court precedent, or of the language, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment."

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