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DOJ calls on Supreme Court to uphold gun law in domestic violence


WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to allow a position in federal law that makes it a crime for people under firearms prohibition orders.

In February, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled the ban was unconstitutional, saying it violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to carry weapons. It was the latest victory for gun rights advocates since a Supreme Court ruling last June granting a broad right for people to carry guns outside their homes.

The Supreme Court’s ruling heralded a new test for assessing gun laws, saying restrictions must be “consistent with this country’s historic tradition of gun regulation,” and not simply serve a important government interest.

The Justice Department’s motion to appeal the case to the Supreme Court was posted on Twitter late Friday by Jake Charles, a law professor at Pepperdine University who specializes in gun control issues. It can take several days for a petition to be posted on the public list.

“More than one million acts of domestic violence occur in the United States each year, and the presence of a firearm increases the risk that the violence will escalate to homicide,” the petition states.

The Justice Department said it was pursuing the Supreme Court’s appeal on a “very accelerated schedule” so the justices could potentially take up the case before the end of the current term.

In its decision, the 5th Circuit panel, made up of three Republican-appointed judges, rejected the guilty plea and six-year prison sentence for Zackey Rahimi, who admitted to possessing weapons found in his Kennedale home. , in Texas, after prosecutors said he participated in five shootings in December 2020 and January 2021.

Rahimi had been under a restraining order since February 2020, following his alleged assault on a former girlfriend.

Neither the Justice Department nor the federal public defender representing Rahimi immediately responded to requests for comment.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.