Supreme Court 8-1: Citizens Lose All Gun Rights for 2 Years When Accused of Domestic Violence


On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected the constitutional challenge to a federal law banning gun possession by a citizen who has a domestic violence restraining order. The vote on case United States vs. Rahimi was 8-1, only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented. The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

You can read the decision here.

A ‘restraining order’ in most courts in most states is very easy to obtain. To obtain a ‘restraining order’, generally a person seeking one needs to show either a specific instance or instances of abuse or harassment such as sexual assault or just a threat of further abusive behavior or harassment.

In law these are crimes where simple words, and importantly the impressions of other people, can generate criminal charges. Before an accused person ever has a trial, they can lose their gun rights because of an accusation where the only evidence is an angry ex-spouse’s words and recollections.

To prove this kind of evidence in court, most jurisdictions allow people to simply tell the judge their side of the story. Personal testimony, eyewitness testimony, a police report, medical records, photographs, all suffice as evidence in a hearing where the judge determines whether or not a person is a threat to another.

Over the past few decades, as well, feminists have greatly changed the definition of what constitutes ‘domestic violence.’

Here is how the Department of Justice currently defines “Domestic Violence”:

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, or technological actions or threats of actions or other patterns of coercive behavior that influence another person within an intimate partner relationship. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Even the mildest criticisms of this expansive definition of domestic violence are aggressively tone policed by the mainstream media. In February, one sign at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which listed an expansive list of domestic violence as negatively impacting families, was covered by Newsweek.

The challenge to the federal law in the Rahimi case, found at 18 U. S. C. §922(g)(8), asked whether the federal law in question “fits within our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

The plaintiff is Zackey Rahimi, a citizen of Texas.

Plaintiff Zackey Rahimi

Rahimi was subject to a domestic violence order after an altercation with a girlfriend in a parking lot where the girlfriend alleges he fired off a shot, either at her or at a witness nearby. The girlfriend filed for a restraining order and alleged that he was mean to her many times in the past. The restraining order was granted for a term of two years, where he was not to contact the girlfriend and was not allowed to own or possess guns during this period of time.

Later, after the police investigated claims that he violated the restraining order, they searched his home and found the guns which were prohibited by the restraining order.

Not a single Trump-appointed or Bush Jr.-appointed Supreme Court Justice sided with the gun rights of Plaintiff Rahimi. Clarence Thomas was the lone dissent.

Justice Thomas said in dissent: “Not a single historical regulation justifies the statute at issue.”

Thomas noted the massive due process violations at stake, and disproportionate penalties in the law when he said the federal law, “strips an individual of his ability to possess firearms and ammunition without any due process. Rather, the ban is an automatic, uncontestable consequence of certain orders. There is no hearing or opportunity to be heard on the statute’s applicability, and a court need not decide whether a person should be disarmed under §922(g)(8).”

Thomas continued, “The only process §922(g)(8) requires is that provided (or not) for the underlying restraining order. Despite §922(g)(8)’s broad scope and lack of process, it carries strong penalties. Any violation of §922(g)(8) is a felony punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment. And, a conviction for violating §922(g)(8) itself triggers a permanent, life-long prohibition on possessing firearms and ammunition. §922(g)(1).”

Thomas prophetically says, when referencing the ability of courts to suspend the gun rights of people simply accused of domestic violence, “in the interest of ensuring the Government can regulate one subset of society, today’s decision puts at risk the Second Amendment rights of many more.”

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