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DOJ seeks fast-track Supreme Court review of ruling against gun ban for people under domestic violence restraining orders



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The Justice Division on Friday requested the Supreme Court docket to fast-track its consideration of a recent appeals court ruling that deemed unconstitutional a federal regulation barring gun possession by these beneath home violence restraining orders.

“The presence of a gun in a home with a home abuser will increase the danger of murder sixfold,” US Solicitor Common Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in her petition Friday, urging the excessive courtroom to resolve earlier than its summer season recess whether or not to take up the case.

The fifth US Circuit Court docket of Appeals said in February that the 1996 regulation was unconstitutional, and whereas the ruling applies solely to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, advocates worry it is going to have large implications, together with that it’s going to discourage victims from coming ahead.

The circuit courtroom cited the main Second Modification ruling handed down by the Supreme Court docket’s conservative majority final yr that laid out a brand new check for decrease courts to make use of to research a gun regulation’s constitutionality.

Prelogar informed the Supreme Court docket on Friday that the fifth Circuit’s reasoning was unsuitable and the excessive courtroom ought to take up the case so “that it will probably right the Fifth Circuit’s misinterpretation of Bruen,” referring to last summer’s Supreme Court opinion.

The excessive courtroom’s majority opinion in June stated that a part of the check was whether or not a gun restriction had a parallel to the laws in place on the time of the Structure’s framing.

The fifth Circuit stated, with its opinion concerning the home violence gun restriction earlier this yr, that the prohibition on alleged abusers lacked that type of historic parallel and due to this fact was unconstitutional.

If the fifth Circuit’s “method had been utilized throughout the board,” Prelogar wrote, “few fashionable statutes would survive judicial evaluate; most fashionable gun laws, in any case, differ from their historic forbears in not less than some methods.”

On the time of the circuit courtroom ruling, Lawyer Common Merrick Garland stated in a press release that Congress had decided the gun ban statute “practically 30 years in the past” and signaled the division’s plan to enchantment the ruling.

“Whether or not analyzed by the lens of Supreme Court docket precedent, or of the textual content, historical past, and custom of the Second Modification, that statute is constitutional. Accordingly, the Division will search additional evaluate of the Fifth Circuit’s opposite determination,” he stated.

Weapons are used to commit practically two-thirds of intimate companion homicides, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated. A 2021 study discovered that almost all of mass shootings are additionally linked to home violence.

Although a few of the states lined by the appeals courtroom have related state regulation restrictions, the brand new ruling undermines an important instrument that survivors have to guard themselves from their abusers. If the fifth Circuit’s logic had been adopted nationwide by the US Supreme Court docket, the implications could be devastating, advocates say.

“Individuals are going to know that their abuser nonetheless has their gun. They’re going to proceed to stay in absolute, abject concern,” stated Heather Bellino, the CEO of the Texas Advocacy Challenge, which works with victims of home violence. “They’ll be afraid to get a protecting order, as a result of now that gun’s not going away.”