Supreme Court Upholds Law That Bans Domestic Abusers From Owning Guns

Monday, June 24th, 2024

Richmond, VA June 21, 2024 – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered a ruling in the case of USA vs Rahimi, upholding the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), which prohibits individuals subject to domestic-violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. This case originated in Texas, highlighting the state’s pivotal role in shaping national policy on domestic violence.

  • Two-thirds of women killed by an intimate partner are killed with a gun.1
  • Access to a gun makes it 5x more likely that a woman will die at the hands of a domestic abuser.2
  • Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner.3

“We commend the Court for its decision, which prioritizes the safety and protection of domestic violence survivors across the nation. This ruling reaffirms the absolute importance of firearm restrictions for people who pose a significant threat to their intimate partners,” said Susheela Varkey, Director of VPLC’s Center for Family Advocacy. “Restrictions are a crucial tool to help safeguard victims of domestic violence, and the prohibition on firearm possession by abusers under these orders is an essential component of these protections.

In 2023, Virginia Poverty Law Center joined Texas Advocacy Project and a coalition* of dedicated non-profit organizations across the nation in proudly filing an amicus brief in US v. Rahimi to advocate for the safety and protection of domestic violence survivors through appropriate firearm regulations. The brief, submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, addressed the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and emphasized the importance of preventing individuals who have committed or threatened family violence from accessing firearms during the period they are under a protective order.

Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer of Texas Advocacy Project, added, “This ruling is a monumental step forward in protecting the lives of domestic violence survivors in Texas and beyond. It underscores the necessity of strong legal measures to prevent abusers from accessing firearms, which are too often used to perpetuate violence. Our commitment to providing legal and social services to those in need remains unwavering.”

The intersection of domestic violence and firearm access is well-documented, with numerous studies4 showing a significant increase in the likelihood of homicide when abusers have access to guns. Today’s ruling is a crucial step in our ongoing efforts to protect survivors and prevent domestic violence-related fatalities.

We urge state and federal lawmakers to build on this victory by strengthening laws and resources aimed at preventing domestic violence and supporting survivors. Together, we can create a safer and more just society for all.


*The Coalition is comprised of the following dedicated nonprofits across the country: Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., Bay Area Legal Aid, Central California Legal Services, Community Legal Aid SoCal, Eastside Legal Assistance Program, Georgia Legal Services Program, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Indiana Health Advocacy Coalition, Indiana Legal Services, Inc., Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Los Angeles Center of Law and Justice, Maryland Legal Aid, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, OneJustice, SAFE Alliance, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc., Texas Advocacy Project, Texas Legal Services Center, University of Texas School of Law Domestic Violence Clinic, Virginia Poverty Law Center.                                                        

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