Washington – Today, House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) led 151 representatives and 18 senators in an amicus brief which repudiates the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Rahimi and calls on the Supreme Court to set a clear standard that allows for Congress to pass laws that keep the American people safe. The Fifth Circuit’s ruling in Rahimi is one of the many disturbing decisions concerning gun violence that have been influenced by the recent Bruen decision.
“The Fifth Circuit’s ruling in the Rahimi case has tragic and dangerous implications for people in domestic violence situations,” said Thompson. “I believe it is the responsibility of Congress to ensure that our laws protect the most vulnerable among us. The availability of firearms to be possessed by individuals with domestic violence restraining orders can escalate domestic violence and increase the risk of death or serious injury — the Supreme Court must not allow this to happen.”
“Domestic violence restraining orders which prohibit gun possession are neither a novel nor partisan idea – they are a straightforward legal tool to protect survivors at the moment when their abusers are most dangerous. Forty-three states – red, purple, and blue – and Congress have all passed some form of this prohibitor with the same objective: keeping domestic violence survivors and their family members alive,” Blumenthal said. “There is absolutely no sane legal argument for striking down this law.”
The amicus brief and the full list of signers can be found here.
The defendant in United States v. Rahimi was suspected of five shootings in Texas between 2020 and 2021. Police searched his home and found multiple firearms. He had a domestic violence restraining order which prevented him from owning a firearm under federal law.
The New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit agreed to rehear his case after the Bruen decision and applied the new “history and tradition” legal test. The court found that the federal statute was not sufficiently similar to any historical laws raised by the government. The prosecutor presented numerous historical laws that disarmed individuals dating from the colonial period. The court thought these laws were aimed at preserving political and social order, and not protecting an identified person from a specific threat posed by another.
If the Fifth Circuit decision in Rahimi is upheld, it would open the floodgates to domestic violence abusers and other dangerous people seeking to possess firearms.
The amicus brief is endorsed by Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, and March For Our Lives.