WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to allow the upholding of a federal law that makes it a crime for people under domestic violence restraining orders to possess firearms.
In February, a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans declared the ban unconstitutional, saying it violated the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms. It was the latest victory for gun rights advocates since a Supreme Court ruling last June granting people a broad right to carry firearms outside the home.
The Supreme Court ruling announced a new test to evaluate firearms laws, saying restrictions must be «consistent with this nation’s storied tradition of firearms regulation» and not simply further an important government interest.
The Justice Department’s request to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court was posted on Twitter late Friday by Jake Charles, a Pepperdine University law professor with expertise in gun control issues. It may take several days for a petition to be posted on the public record.
“More than one million acts of domestic violence occur in the United States each year, and the presence of a firearm increases the likelihood that the violence will escalate into homicide,” the petition says.
The Justice Department said it was pursuing the Supreme Court appeal on a «very accelerated schedule» so that the justices could potentially take up the case before the current term ends.
In its decision, the Fifth Circuit panel, which was made up of three Republican-appointed judges, threw out the guilty plea and six-year prison sentence for Zackey Rahimi, who admitted to possessing weapons found in his Kennedale, Texas home. , after prosecutors said he participated in five shootings in December 2020 and January 2021.
Rahimi had been under a restraining order since February 2020, following his alleged assault on a former girlfriend.
Neither the Justice Department nor the federal public defender representing Rahimi immediately responded to requests for comment.