Letitia James joins the fight to prevent violent domestic abusers from obtaining guns

April 25, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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New York Attorney General Letitia James, along with a coalition of 25 attorneys general, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to prevent individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms.

The brief urges the Supreme Court to hear the case United States v. Rahimi, in which the defendant, Zakey Rahimi, challenged a federal statute after being indicted for possession of a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled earlier this year that the Second Amendment prohibits disarming individuals under domestic violence protection orders, a decision the coalition seeks to have the Supreme Court overturn.

“It is common sense that people who are under active restraining orders for domestic violence should not be able to get guns,” said Attorney General James. “This is a basic protection that states and the federal government have long imposed, and the efforts to undo this law will have grave consequences for survivors of domestic abuse, law enforcement, and the general public. States must have the ability to protect our communities from gun violence and prevent dangerous people from getting guns.”

States and the federal government have long imposed restrictions on firearm possession for individuals under domestic violence restraining orders. The coalition argues that the appeals court ruling jeopardizes the safety of domestic violence victims and undermines efforts to protect residents from gun violence.

The attorneys general assert that such statutes are constitutional and lifesaving, as studies show they reduce intimate partner and law enforcement homicides. The brief emphasizes that abusers are five times more likely to murder their partners if a firearm is present in the home, with women, pregnant women, and women of color disproportionately targeted by intimate partner violence.

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