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DOJ asks SCOTUS to review ruling that overturned firearm ban for those with domestic violence restraining orders

The Hill logo The Hill 3/19/2023 Julia Shapero
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling that overturned a federal law banning those under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that the law was no longer constitutional based on the Supreme Court’s decision last June in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which found that gun regulations had to be consistent with the country’s historical tradition.

The DOJ filed its petition with the high court on a “highly expedited schedule” — citing the “significant disruptive consequences” of the appeals court ruling — in an effort to allow the court to consider the petition before it recesses for the summer.

The government argued in the petition that the Fifth Circuit “overlooked the strong historical evidence supporting the general principle that the government may disarm dangerous individuals,” instead dismissing each historical example on the grounds that it differed from the law “in some way.”

“Although courts interpreting the Second Amendment must consider text, history, and tradition, they should not focus on whether the law at issue has ‘a historical twin,’” the DOJ said. “To the contrary, this Court emphasized that ‘even if a modern-day regulation is not a dead ringer for historical precursors, it still may be analogous enough to pass constitutional muster.’”

The case centers on Zackey Rahimi, who pleaded guilty to charges based on the provision after he was found in possession of firearms while under a restraining order from his ex-girlfriend. He filed the appeal after the Supreme Court’s ruling last June.

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