The Supreme Court Takes On Another Major Second Amendment Case

The Supreme Court is set to hear a case this term which could shape the future of Second Amendment law. At the center of the case is Zackey Rahimi, who was involved in five shootings between December 2020 and January 2021.

According to court documents, one of these incidents involved Rahimi firing shots into the air after his friend’s credit card was declined at a Whataburger.

When police executed a search warrant on Rahimi’s home they discovered that he was in possession of a firearm which violated a civil protective order entered against him in February 2020 for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

A federal grand jury indicted Rahimi under a statute that disallows those subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Rahimi’s challenge to the law’s constitutionality in February, finding it did not adhere to the standard set out by the Supreme Court in their 2022 ruling on New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which stated that regulations must be within our nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.

“Rahimi, while hardly a model citizen, is nonetheless part of the political community entitled to the Second Amendment’s guarantees, all other things equal,” the court found.

The Fifth Circuit specified in its ruling that the question at hand in the case is “not whether prohibiting the possession of firearms by someone subject to a domestic violence restraining order is a laudable policy goal.” Rather, it frames it as a more nuanced question of due process.

“The question is whether a restraining order achieved through the civil law process (lower burden of proof), and not the criminal law process (higher burden of proof) is enough to strip a person’s constitutional rights when that person has not been convicted of a felony,” John Shu, an attorney and legal commentator who served in the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations, explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Rahimi had been charged with multiple state offenses before the five shootings, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in November 2020 and use of a firearm in the physical assault of his girlfriend in December 2019.

However, since he was not convicted, this has become an issue for the Supreme Court to consider.

As Shu points out, if Rahimi had been convicted of a felony, it would have been clear that he could not buy, own or possess firearms as both federal and state law prohibit felons from doing so—a regulation that is backed by history and tradition.

“There’s no question that Rahimi admitted to engaging in reprehensible, felonious, criminal acts, independent of the domestic violence allegations,” he said. “One huge question is why both the Texas state and federal criminal justice systems failed to investigate, arrest, charge, hold without bail, and eventually convict and incarcerate Rahimi for any of them, especially given that the civil restraining order was issued nearly a year before most of his misdeeds.”

Advocates against domestic violence have come out in full force against Rahimi: “For thousands of women, children, and other potential victims of domestic violence, as well as potential other victims of mass shootings by domestic abusers, the stakes are literally life or death,” a coalition of gun violence and domestic violence prevention groups told the Supreme Court in a brief.

While gun groups note Rahimi is not a sympathetic plaintiff, they bristle at efforts to frame his case as one about domestic violence.

“One of the problems with this kind of gun control is it merely disarms a dangerous individual and then leaves them at large in society,” Aidan Johnston, director of Federal Affairs for Gun Owners of America, told the DCNF. “If Zackey Rahimi is too dangerous to own a gun, then why are we letting him run around in society to go and abuse other women?”

In divorce proceedings, Johnston said the judge will sometimes issue the kind of order applied to Rahimi to both parties in the case — the victim and the abuser.

“That’s what Gun Owners of America is fighting for in this case: to empower victims with their Second Amendment rights,” he said. “An unconstitutional, broad statute like this prohibited person category can result in the good guys getting disarmed while bad guys run free.”

In Florida, the Eleventh Circuit is awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling before proceeding with a lawsuit that challenges the state’s ban on individuals under 21 owning firearms.

Hannah Hill, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that she expects this case to have a significant impact on “red flag” laws adopted in various states.

“The arguments for stripping citizens of a Bill of Rights guarantee just based on a restraining order are identical to the arguments for red flagging someone,” Hill said. “The policies are very, very similar, and both should be struck down for the same reasons. You cannot deprive people of Bill of Rights guarantees unless a) they’ve committed an appropriate crime, and b) they’ve received full due process.”

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a “red flag” bill into law in May. Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee called on the state legislature to pass one in April, weeks after the Nashville Covenant School shooting.

“Due process includes jury trial, the right to face your accusers, beyond a reasonable doubt standard of evidence, etc. – namely all the protections on the criminal justice process side, which are laid out in the Constitution and the extensive body of statutory and case law fleshing out exactly what those due process protections are,” Hill told the DCNF.

The Biden administration requested the Supreme Court to rule against Rahimi on Monday, citing that individuals under domestic violence protective orders are likely to endanger their intimate partners due to guns often being utilized in cases of homicide or injury.

Federal law demands these protective orders meet strict criteria before an individual is deprived of their firearms.

“An order must either contain a judicial finding that the person poses a credible threat to the physical safety of another, or explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force,” Department of Justice Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in the government’s brief. “A court must have issued the order after notice and a hearing. And the disqualification lasts only as long as the order remains in effect.”

ICYMI: Ultra-Leftist Panel Argues 2A Is Rasist, Demands ‘Right Not To Be Shot’

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