Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 21, 2024

Supreme Court Upholds Restrictions on Guns for Domestic-Violence Offenders

The Supreme Court has upheld a federal law prohibiting individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms.

The ruling, decided by an 8-1 vote, asserts that the law aligns with historical traditions of firearm regulation.

According to Scotus Blog, in United States v. Rahimi, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court's decision, emphasizing that gun restrictions can be upheld if they are in line with the historical context of firearm regulation. The ruling marks the court’s first significant Second Amendment case since it struck down New York’s handgun licensing scheme in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen decision.

Supreme Court's Landmark Decision and Its Implications

The decision came in an 8-1 vote, with Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. Zackey Rahimi had challenged the law after being placed under a protective order for domestic violence in Texas. Rahimi’s case involved a serious incident where he assaulted his girlfriend and fired a gun at a bystander, leading to a search of his home that revealed firearms, resulting in charges under federal law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit previously ruled the law unconstitutional based on the Bruen decision. However, the Supreme Court reversed this decision, concluding that historical firearm laws have included measures to prevent those who threaten harm from misusing firearms.

Adapting Historical Context to Modern Gun Regulations

Chief Justice John Roberts highlighted the importance of aligning new laws with historical traditions, stating the need for adaptability to modern circumstances. The court reiterated the test from the Bruen decision but emphasized that it must be applied to contemporary issues.

The case involved examining early English and American gun laws to determine their relevance to today’s regulations. This approach ensures that modern firearm restrictions are consistent with the historical context and the balance struck by the founding generation.

Chief Justice John Roberts explained that the test involves "whether the new law is ‘relevantly similar’ to laws that our tradition is understood to permit, applying faithfully the balance struck by the founding generation to modern circumstances."

Dissenting Opinion and Its Arguments

Justice Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter in the ruling. He argued that the decision should not be about whether states can disarm individuals who pose a threat, as states already have mechanisms to do so by charging the person making the threat with aggravated assault. Instead, Thomas focused on whether the government can strip the Second Amendment rights of individuals subject to a protective order without them being accused or convicted of a crime.

Thomas contended that the government should not be able to remove someone's Second Amendment rights solely based on a protective order. This dissent highlights the ongoing debate over the balance between individual rights and public safety in the context of gun regulation.

Examining the Historical Basis of Firearm Laws

The Supreme Court’s decision builds on its previous ruling in the Bruen case, which involved scrutinizing historical gun laws to assess their applicability to modern-day regulations. In Bruen, the court threw out New York’s handgun licensing scheme, emphasizing the need for historical consistency in firearm laws.

Rahimi’s case further underscores this principle, with the court examining historical firearm laws to justify upholding the federal restriction on gun possession for individuals under domestic-violence restraining orders. This historical analysis aims to ensure that contemporary gun regulations remain faithful to the foundational principles of American law.

Conclusion of the Supreme Court's Decision

The Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Rahimi reinforces the notion that firearm regulations must align with historical traditions while being adaptable to modern circumstances. The ruling reversed a lower court's decision, emphasizing the court's commitment to balancing individual rights with public safety in the context of gun ownership. The case highlights the importance of historical context in shaping modern regulations and the ongoing debate over the limits of Second Amendment rights.

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About Ashton Snyder

Independent conservative news without a leftist agenda.
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