DOJ seeks fast-track Supreme Court review of ruling against gun ban for people under domestic violence restraining orders


The Justice Division on Friday requested the Supreme Courtroom to fast-track its consideration of a current appeals court docket ruling that deemed unconstitutional a federal regulation barring gun possession by these beneath home violence restraining orders.

“The presence of a gun in a home with a home abuser will increase the danger of murder sixfold,” US Solicitor Basic Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in her petition Friday, urging the excessive court docket to determine earlier than its summer time recess whether or not to take up the case.

The fifth US Circuit Courtroom of Appeals stated in February that the 1996 regulation was unconstitutional, and whereas the ruling applies solely to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, advocates fear it is going to have broad implications, together with that it’s going to discourage victims from coming ahead.

The circuit court docket cited the key Second Modification ruling handed down by the Supreme Courtroom’s conservative majority final 12 months that laid out a brand new take a look at for decrease courts to make use of to investigate a gun regulation’s constitutionality.

Prelogar advised the Supreme Courtroom on Friday that the fifth Circuit’s reasoning was mistaken and the excessive court docket ought to take up the case so “that it will probably right the Fifth Circuit’s misinterpretation of Bruen,” referring to final summer time’s Supreme Courtroom opinion.

The excessive court docket’s majority opinion in June stated that a part of the take a look at was whether or not a gun restriction had a parallel to the laws in place on the time of the Structure’s framing.

The fifth Circuit stated, with its opinion relating to the home violence gun restriction earlier this 12 months, that the prohibition on alleged abusers lacked that type of historic parallel and subsequently was unconstitutional.

If the fifth Circuit’s “strategy have been utilized throughout the board,” Prelogar wrote, “few fashionable statutes would survive judicial overview; most fashionable gun laws, in spite of everything, differ from their historic forbears in at the least some methods.”

On the time of the circuit court docket ruling, Legal professional Basic Merrick Garland stated in an announcement that Congress had decided the gun ban statute “almost 30 years in the past” and signaled the division’s plan to attraction the ruling.

“Whether or not analyzed by the lens of Supreme Courtroom precedent, or of the textual content, historical past, and custom of the Second Modification, that statute is constitutional. Accordingly, the Division will search additional overview of the Fifth Circuit’s opposite resolution,” he stated.

Weapons are used to commit almost two-thirds of intimate companion homicides, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has stated. A 2021 examine discovered that almost all of mass shootings are additionally linked to home violence.

Although a number of the states lined by the appeals court docket have related state regulation restrictions, the brand new ruling undermines a vital software that survivors have to guard themselves from their abusers. If the fifth Circuit’s logic have been adopted nationwide by the US Supreme Courtroom, the implications could be devastating, advocates say.

“Individuals are going to know that their abuser nonetheless has their gun. They’re going to proceed to reside in absolute, abject worry,” stated Heather Bellino, the CEO of the Texas Advocacy Undertaking, which works with victims of home violence. “They’ll be afraid to get a protecting order, as a result of now that gun’s not going away.”