On November 7th, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments on a case that will decide whether domestic abusers have a right to be armed, and whether their victims will live or die
WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, March For Our Lives, along with Brady, GIFFORDS, and Everytown, hosted a press call about the Supreme Court case United States v. Rahimi, urging the court to overturn the Fifth Circuit’s decision that allowed domestic abusers to possess guns. This case concerns whether the Second Amendment — as interpreted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen — invalidates a federal law prohibiting those subject to domestic violence protective orders from possessing firearms.
Speaking for March For Our Lives at the press conference was 19-year-old Camille Paradis, a survivor of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, who explained the devastating effects this case could have on young people across the country if the Supreme Court upholds the 5th Circuit decision. “We know that mass shootings and domestic violence are intimately connected, with 68% of mass shootings involving a perpetrator with a history of domestic violence,” said Camille. “The shooter at my elementary school was a domestic abuser. His first act of violence that day was an act of domestic violence, as he shot and killed his mother in their home before heading to my elementary school. […] This decision weighs heavy on my heart, because if upheld, it will only bring more terror, more deaths, and more mass shootings like Sandy Hook.”
Besides the connection between domestic violence and mass shootings, this case also poses risks for young people in several other ways. For victims of gun violence under 13, 85% died in their homes, and one-third were killed in connection with intimate partner or family violence, and data drawn from 16 states indicates that nearly two-thirds of child fatalities involving domestic violence were caused by guns.
It’s clear that if upheld, U.S. v. Rahimi, will lead to more young people being killed by guns, which is why March For Our Lives has continued to push the judicial system to protect our lives. In August, we filed an amicus brief to share the important and powerful stories of several survivors of domestic violence involving firearms and survivors of mass shootings committed by domestic violence perpetrators. As oral arguments begin in two weeks, we will continue to rally our members and urge the Supreme Court to overturn the decision in Rahimi and put young people’s lives first.
Here is a transcript of the remarks Camille gave today:
“Hi everyone, my name is Camille Paradis, I am 19 years-old, an advocate with March For Our Lives, and I’m a survivor of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
This massacre devastated my family, my community, and the nation. Almost 11 years later, I still feel the impact of the tragedy daily. I struggle to feel safe in public, in classes, and even at home. Loud noises like fireworks or a door slamming can send me into panic, and I plan an escape route every time I walk into a building, looking around the rooms to find the best hiding place. My future is uncertain, and I worry about telling new people in my life about what happened, knowing that they will never understand the gravity and devastation of the shooting the way that my community does.
Being a survivor is terrifying and isolating. People tell me I am strong, but I rarely ever feel that way. Unfortunately, the community of mass shooting survivors is large. While I may feel isolated, the truth is that hundreds of children, teens, and young adults are survivors. Guns have been the leading cause of death for youth in America for three years in a row now and my generation has been dubbed “The Mass Shooting Generation ” too many times. Being young in America shouldn’t mean putting your life on the line at school, and especially not in your own home, but unfortunately, it does. If the Supreme Court allows the 5th Circuit decision in United States v. Rahimi to stand, it will put more young people’s lives at risk. That’s why I joined March For Our Lives this past year in filing an amicus brief with the court on this case and why I am speaking with you all today.
When domestic abusers have access to a gun, already dangerous situations become fatal, especially for young people and underserved communities. In general, women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser when armed by a firearm. Young women like me, women of color, pregnant women, women with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community, face disproportionately higher rates of domestic violence involving guns. For victims of gun violence under 13, 85% died in their homes, and one-third were killed in connection with intimate partner or family violence. Even more so, data drawn from 16 states indicate that nearly two-thirds of child fatalities involving domestic violence were caused by guns.
We also know that mass shootings and domestic violence are intimately connected, with 68% of mass shootings involving a perpetrator with a history of domestic violence. The shooter at my elementary school was a domestic abuser. His first act of violence that day was an act of domestic violence, as he shot and killed his mother in their home before heading to my elementary school. This act of domestic violence was the start of the violence that will forever impact me and the hundreds of my community members in my school that day, most of whom were children at the time.
As I’ve said before, guns are already the leading cause of death for young people in America, more than car accidents and more than cancer, making clear that young people cannot afford for the court to uphold the decision in Rahimi. We don’t deserve to live like this and we don’t deserve to die like this.
This decision weighs heavy on my heart, because if upheld, it will only bring more terror, more deaths, and more mass shootings like Sandy Hook. I have seen the devastation this violence brings firsthand; it’s not something you ever forget, and neither myself, March For Our Lives, nor the millions of young people in our movement, will just sit back and let it happen again. Our lives are on the line and we will continue to demand that our legislators and our Supreme Court Justices do their one job and protect our lives.”