Supreme Court upholds federal ban on firearms for domestic violence offenders

ByDevin Dwyer ABCNews logo
Friday, June 21, 2024
Supreme Court upholds ban on firearms for domestic violence offenders
Supreme Court upholds ban on firearms for domestic violence offenders

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday upheld a federal ban on firearms for people under domestic violence restraining orders.

The 8-1 opinion was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.

"When a restraining order contains a finding that an individual poses a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner, that individual may-consistent with the Second Amendment-be banned from possessing firearms while the order is in effect," Roberts wrote. "Since the founding, our Nation's firearm laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms."

In other words, the court held someone in those circumstances could be temporarily disarmed.

The case, U.S. v. Rahimi, marked a major test for the court since its decision in 2022 that expanded gun rights and created a new framework for evaluating Second Amendment cases.

The 1994 federal statute at the center of the case requires thousands of domestic violence restraining orders issued each year by federal and state judges to be reported to the national background check system, which would serve as a basis to deny a firearm sale.

"Taken together, the surety and going armed laws confirm what common sense suggests: When an individual poses a clear threat of physical violence to another, the threatening individual may be disarmed," Roberts wrote.

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