The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a significant gun rights case, marking its first since the 2022 decision that established a new test for reviewing gun regulations. The case, United States v. Rahimi, involves Zackey Rahimi challenging the constitutionality of a 1994 federal law that bars individuals under domestic violence protective orders from possessing firearms. Rahimi's case gained national attention when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the 1994 law, sparking criticism that it prioritized the rights of abusers over the safety of their victims.
The 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen set a new standard for evaluating gun restrictions, requiring them to align with a historical tradition of firearm regulation from the time of the Bill of Rights to the end of the Civil War. This ruling has resulted in a wave of controversial and contradictory decisions in lower courts, leading to the overturning or limiting of long-standing gun safety laws.
During the recent Supreme Court arguments, the federal government defended the law prohibiting gun possession by domestic abusers. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued that lower courts misinterpreted the Bruen test and emphasized the principle of disarming dangerous individuals. However, some conservative justices expressed concerns that lower courts may have taken the Bruen ruling too far. Rahimi's defender, Matthew Wright, faced skeptical questioning from the justices, with Chief Justice John Roberts highlighting Rahimi's violent actions.
The Bruen ruling has faced criticism from legal scholars for its chaotic implementation, and there is hope that the court will provide further guidance in its next ruling. Prelogar echoed these concerns, noting the profound misreading of Bruen that led to the overturning of certain laws. The case has significant implications for Second Amendment rights, although Rahimi himself is unlikely to legally possess firearms again.
Rahimi's case originated from a series of violent incidents involving his former girlfriend, resulting in a protective order being issued against him. He is currently facing multiple criminal charges, including aggravated assault and firearm-related offenses.
Overall, the Supreme Court's hearing of this gun rights case has highlighted the ongoing controversies and challenges surrounding the interpretation and application of the Second Amendment. The court's eventual ruling will have far-reaching consequences for gun regulations in the country.