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MAJOR VICTORY FOR GUN SAFETY IN THE COURTS: United States Supreme Court Reverses Fifth Circuit’s Extreme Rahimi Decision, Everytown Responds


NEW YORK – Today, in a life-saving decision in United States v. Rahimi, the United States Supreme Court reversed an extreme and deadly decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down the longstanding federal law that prohibits domestic abusers subject to protective orders from possessing guns. Today’s decision affirms that domestic abusers like Zackey Rahimi do not have the constitutional right to possess a gun.

“As millions of domestic violence victims breathe a sigh of relief, it’s worth remembering who put them in jeopardy: extreme Trump-appointed judges on the Fifth Circuit who sided with an abuser who wanted to keep his guns,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “While common sense triumphed this time, four more years of Trump will put more innocent lives in the line of fire.”

“Today’s decision from the Supreme Court is a powerful reminder that the gun lobby cannot — and will not — be the arbiter of the lives of women and families across the country,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “Our movement has been fighting against the gun lobby’s extreme agenda for over a decade, and made it known that this decision would have had deadly consequences. Today, we’re celebrating that the Supreme Court ensured that the lives and safety of millions across the country will be protected over the desires of gun rights extremists. This is a win for the gun safety movement and another loss for the gun lobby hellbent on putting lives in danger.”

“Our country has stood at a tipping point, with the safety of survivors of domestic violence on the line. But today, we took a step toward protecting millions from their abusers,” said Janet Carter, senior director of issues and appeals at Everytown Law, and former Supreme Court clerk. “This is a major victory for gun safety in the courts, but make no mistake—we should not have been here in the first place. Lower court judges should never have been allowed to put their interpretation of early American history ahead of the lives of countless women and families across the country.”

“I know how important today’s Supreme Court ruling is because I have lived it. The reversal of the Fifth Circuit’s extreme ruling in Rahimi means fewer children will witness their mothers, sisters, aunts and friends experience gun violence at the hands of abusers, like mine did,” said La’Shea Cretain, an Everytown Senior Survivor Fellow, volunteer with California chapter of Moms Demand Action, and gun violence survivor whose ex-boyfriend shot her five times in front of her young children in Louisiana. She recovered from a coma and still lives with all five bullets in her body. “While the Supreme Court reached the right conclusion today, the fact that this extreme case made it this far only underscores why we cannot let our foot off the gas in the fight to protect women and families from gun violence. Today, we celebrate but our fight for justice does not end here.”

Litigation and policy experts as well as survivors of gun-related domestic violence are available for interviews to discuss. Please reach out to [email protected] to coordinate.

Domestic violence and gun violence are inextricably linked. Every month in America, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner, and the presence of a gun makes a woman five times more likely to die at the hands of her abuser. Women of color particularly bear the brunt of America’s domestic violence crisis. Black, Indigenous and Hispanic women are victims of homicide at the highest rates, and more often than not, it’s at the hand of an abusive partner.

Research also shows an outsized connection between mass shootings and domestic violence perpetrators. In nearly half of mass shootings with four or more people killed in America, the perpetrator shot an intimate partner or family member as a part of their rampage.
The decision the Supreme Court reversed today, issued in February 2023 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, struck down the longstanding federal law that prohibits domestic abusers subject to protective orders from possessing guns. The Fifth Circuit’s radical and dangerous ruling came in the wake of a misguided decision from the United States Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which struck down a core provision of New York’s concealed carry law that had been on the books for more than 100 years and changed the rules on how courts determine whether gun safety laws are constitutional to give a central role to early American history. The Bruen decision unleashed chaos in the courts, setting the stage for challenges to even the most foundational gun safety laws, and leading courts across the country to issue wildly divergent decisions on multiple core issues.