• Press Release

SCOTUS Finally Does its Job and Prohibits Domestic Violence Abusers From Owning Guns

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Today, the Supreme Court overturned the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in U.S. v. Rahimi, rightfully upholding a life-saving federal law that bars domestic abusers from possessing guns, as we argued for in our amicus brief. March For Our Lives is relieved that the Court has sided with survivors in this case and affirmed that its decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen—for all its blatant cherry-picking and flawed reasoning—allows us to enact common-sense gun safety regulations combating the unprecedented levels of gun violence faced by modern communities. 

For decades, federal law has protected intimate partners, children, and families by preventing dangerous individuals who are subject to domestic violence restraining orders from owning a firearm. Individuals whose abusers have access to firearms are 5x more likely to die, and the vast majority of mass shooters have a proven history of domestic violence. This is a lifesaving law. March For Our Lives filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in this case defending laws that prohibit abusers from carrying guns and highlighting the stories of people who have survived firearm attacks from domestic abusers—ranging from survivors of intimate partner violence to mass school shootings. 

While this decision is a step in the right direction, we still have miles to go. It was the Supreme Court’s own previous ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen that completely upended over a century of constitutional jurisprudence, and that threw courts into such disarray over settled gun laws that the Fifth Circuit issued its absurd decision in Rahimi in the first place. Though the Supreme Court today rejected the Fifth Circuit’s interpretation—confirming that under Bruen, modern laws need only be historical analogs, not historical twins—we remain concerned with the Supreme Court’s overreliance on a nebulous “history and tradition” standard that transforms courtrooms into echo chambers and threatens to shackle us to a past that fails to represent the present. While welcome, this decision alone is far from enough to restore the public’s trust in this imprudent court and fully address the gun violence epidemic tearing entire communities asunder.  Just last week, the Court overturned a lifesaving ban on bump stocks in Cargill, demonstrating that the Court is not a reliable institution. 

From taking away the right to abortions, allowing discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, and siding with the NRA on dangerous gun laws like in last week’s decision that legalized bump stocks, this Court has consistently attacked young people and our right to live safe, authentic lives. March For Our Lives will not let the decision today give us false hope and we will continue to hold the Court accountable for their actions.

“Today, the Supreme Court did the bare minimum—its job,” said Ciara Malone, Legal Director at March For Our Lives. “The Fifth Circuit’s dangerous decision to arm abusers put survivors, victims, and young people across the country at risk. This law is lifesaving and we’re relieved that the Court listened to survivors and finally prioritized American’s safety over their own partisan feelings. However, this victory is just a small step towards correcting the errors in Bruen, and we urge the Court to continue upholding and clarifying the constitutionality of vital gun safety laws to protect our communities from further tragedy.”

“Make no mistake: While the Supreme Court got it right today, it has already done far-reaching damage to settled constitutional jurisprudence via Bruen, and we remain concerned with its willingness to endanger lives to pursue a partisan agenda,” said Makennan McBryde, Legal Associate at March For Our Lives. “Let’s not forget that the Court already has blood on its hands––just a week ago they sided with the gun lobby and legalized bump stocks, effectively giving mass shooters the easy ability to turn any event or public space into a war zone. Our nation’s ability to address gun violence, which is already the leading cause of death for kids and young people for the third year in a row, still hangs in the balance. March For Our Lives will continue to hold this court accountable for their actions and won’t stop until they finally prioritize our lives over their own political agenda.”