WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider whether people charged with domestic violence have the right to own firearms in a case that will test the reach of recently expanded gun rights.
The justices agreed to hear an appeal from the Biden administration in defense of a federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing weapons.
In doing so, the justices will examine how broadly they will interpret their landmark ruling a year ago, pushed by the court’s conservative majority, which for the first time recognized that the Second Amendment to the Constitution includes the right to bear arms outside the home.
The case will be discussed in the next court term, which begins in October and ends next June.
The case concerns Zackey Rahimi, a drug dealer in Texas whose partner obtained a restraining order in February 2020.
During an incident in an Arlington, Texas, parking lot the previous year recounted by the federal government in court documents, Rahimi was accused of throwing the woman to the ground, dragging her to his car and pushing her inside, hitting her head on the dashboard. in the process. He allegedly also fired a shot from his gun after noticing a bystander was watching.
While the protection order was in effect, Rahimi was involved in a series of shootings, including one in which he allegedly fired bullets into a house with an AR-15 rifle, the federal government says.
Rahimi faced state charges for domestic battery and another battery against a different woman.
He was prosecuted separately by the Justice Department for violating federal gun restriction law and, before the Supreme Court issued its new gun rights ruling, argued that the case should be dismissed because of his Second World War rights. Amendment.
A federal judge rejected the claim, noting that the law had been previously confirmed. On appeal, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans initially reached the same conclusion.
Then the Supreme Court issued its decision last June in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. bruenwhich requires judges to focus solely on whether a statute conforms to a historical understanding of the Second Amendment.
As a result, the appeals court heard additional information and changed course, failure in march that due to the expansion of gun rights, the law «does not pass the constitutional test.»
Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar, representing the Biden administration, addressed the Supreme Court, saying in court papers that the appeals court ruling was «profoundly misguided.»
The decision “threatens serious harm for victims of domestic violence,” he said.
Even under the new standard, the law must be upheld, Prelogar said, because there is a long history of governments disarming people who are a danger to others.
Rahimi’s lawyers urged the court not to hear the case, saying lower courts should have more time to weigh the impact of last year’s arms ruling before the higher court intervenes again.
Last year’s Supreme Court ruling sparked a flurry of challenges to longstanding laws, both federal and state, and led some judges to find them illegal under the new standard. Other judges have upheld the gun restrictions, creating divisions in the law across the country. The Supreme Court ruling has also prompted blue states to pass a new wave of gun laws in the hope that they won’t violate the court’s logic.