Supreme Court hears whether alleged domestic abusers are allowed to own firearms in Texas

Lileana Pearson Image
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Texas domestic violence case goes before Supreme Court
A Fort Worth domestic violence case goes before the Supreme Court, fighting whether alleged abusers should be able to carry guns in Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether a domestic abuser should be allowed to own firearms. While early reports lean toward the justices upholding the law, advocates say domestic violence survivors still have a lot at stake.

The case, U.S. v. Rahimi, is out of Fort Worth and it has gun and domestic violence advocates divided. It asks the question, if someone has a domestic violence restraining order against them, do they have the right to a gun?

In 2020, Jamie Wright was granted a lifetime protection order against her abuser, the man she thought loved her.

"Not only did they not protect me, they put me in a position where I thought my life was going to be taken," Wright said.

Due to a 1994 law, if someone has a protection order taken out against them, they cannot own firearms. According to the FBI, more than 77,000 attempted firearm purchases by alleged domestic abusers have been blocked since 1998.

"Feeling safe, especially in community, in society, in systems is everything for me regaining - and, for a survivor, oftentimes, regaining the life we deserve that's free of violence," Wright said.

But on Tuesday, oral arguments were heard in the Supreme Court stating the 1994 law impacts survivors and is a Second Amendment issue.

"This statute actually ends up disarming a bunch of law-abiding or otherwise good people. Judges often issue mutual restraining orders, which disarms both the victim and the abuser at the same time," Aidran Johnston of the Gun Owners of America said.

The Texas Gun Rights Foundation sent ABC13 the following statement:

"I want to be clear: Rahimi should be behind bars, period. But the restraining orders in question are often misused, disarming potential victims instead of just the abusers. It's critical to imprison those who are a real threat, not just disarm them. Of course, the Biden-led Democrats want to use this case to further their extreme gun control agenda by undermining the solid ground established by the Bruen decision. It's a flawed strategy, and Texas Gun Rights will fight tooth and nail to overturn any radical gun control policy."

Early signs show the majority of justices leaning towards upholding the current law, though some conservative judges may be likely to align with a ruling that would lean in favor of the Second Amendment.

Wright said from her lived experience, this is an easy decision.

"I am counting on the people that are supposed to support the vulnerable people in our community and in our nation to do what's right," Wright said.

The Supreme Court has 90 days to submit its written ruling on the case.

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