Supreme Court is being asked to review whether a law prohibiting the possession of firearms by persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders violates the Second Amendment.
The Department of Justice
has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to seek a review of a lower court decision that struck down a federal law that banned people under domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that people under domestic violence restraining orders
retain their constitutional right to own firearms, finding that the federal law prohibiting them from doing so was unconstitutional under the Supreme Court's landmark New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen decision.
Attorney General Merrick Garland had promised to seek further review of the Fifth Circuit's decision. In the petition, the Justice Department (DOJ) argues there is a legal tradition in the U.S. and England of disarming people who have posed a danger to the community or threatened to hurt others.
"In keeping with that history, this Court explained in Heller that the right to keep and bear arms belongs only to ‘law-abiding, responsible citizens,’" DOJ wrote, arguing that the federal law in question "fits squarely within the long-standing tradition of disarming dangerous individuals."
The case, United States v. Zackey Rahimi, concerns a man who was the subject of a civil protective order that banned him from harassing, stalking or threatening his ex-girlfriend and their child. The order also banned him from having guns.
Police in Texas found a rifle and a pistol
in the man's home. He was indicted by a federal grand jury and pleaded guilty. He later challenged his indictment, arguing that the law that prevented him from owning a gun was unconstitutional.
Initially, he lost his case in federal appeals court, which held that it was more important for society to keep guns out of the hands of people accused of domestic violence than it was to protect a person's individual right to own a gun.
However, after the Supreme Court
issued its Bruen decision, setting news standards for interpreting the Second Amendment, the appeals court vacated the man's conviction. The court ruled that the federal law that prohibits people with domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms was not "consistent with the Nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation."
DOJ contends that the Fifth Circuit erred because it "overlooked the strong historical evidence supporting the general principle that the government may disarm dangerous individuals. The court instead analyzed each historical statute in isolation."
Garland had previously condemned the Fifth Circuit opinion, issuing a statement on the day it was released.
"Whether analyzed through the lens of Supreme Court precedent, or of the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment, that statute is constitutional," the attorney general said.
I'm thankful that the idiot known a Merrick Garland isn't sitting on the Supreme Court.