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U.S. vs. Rahimi

U.S. vs. Rahimi has now reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Passage of this law could overturn the federal law that prohibits those with protection orders against them from possessing guns.

How did the case get its name?

Zachery Rahimi is a Texas man who harmed his girlfriend (and mother of his child) in 2019 while in a parking lot. The girlfriend took out an order of protection against him. According to federal law this meant that he couldn’t possess a gun. However, on five different occasions after the order of protection went into effect Rahimi used a gun.

Texas law enforcement identified Rahimi in these shootings and served him with a warrant. When the warrant was being served police found firearms in his home and brought federal charges against him. Rahimi requested the court dismiss his case because prohibiting him from owning a firearm was unconstitutional.

Two lower courts struck down his claim but Rahimi’s claim was revisited by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal last spring. It was at this time that Solicitor General Elizabeth Preloger argued on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, that the Fifth Circuit erred in its reading of the law. However, Congress had passed a federal regulation prohibiting the possession of a gun when a person has an order of protection against them (Section 922).

What would happen if the court ruled in favor of Rahimi?

Second Amendment rights would be broadened impacting victims of domestic violence. This is something that shouldn’t be allowed to happen especially since firearm homicide in domestic violence cases increased by 22% since 2018. Furthermore, between 2018 and 2022, 82% of domestic violence firearm homicides were committed by men.

We need this law in place to protect the community by limiting access to firearms from domestic violence offenders - something that’s already being done in some states such as New Mexico. Many proponents will tell you that allowing the federal law that protects victims of domestic violence is “common sense.” However, it is up to the Supreme Court to decide if it’ll stand or a warped and distorted view of the Second Amendment constructed by the gun industry will be allowed to stand, resulting in more violence, especially against women and children.

What can you do to make a difference?

It's time for us to take a stand. We need to contact our Senators and urge them to do what's right: Protect women who have restraining orders because of the domestic violence they've faced.

This is also a call to support advocates that are out in the field campaigning for such measures. You can do this by supporting Healing Family Trauma Pittsburgh. How? Either by buying a wreath or making a monetary contribution. Thank you.

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