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The Urgent Need to Strengthen Domestic Violence Firearm Prohibitions

A Closer Look at the United States v. Rahimi

October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to shed light on a pressing issue affecting countless lives across the nation. As we focus on raising awareness, the United States Supreme Court is set to deliberate on an important case—United States v. Rahimi. At its core, this case tackles the prohibition of firearms for individuals convicted of domestic violence or those under a domestic violence protection order.

In the wake of the 2022 Bruen decision, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a concerning judgment. They found Zackey Rahimi, under a protection order, wrongfully denied access to firearms, citing historical analogies dating back to early America. However, our society’s perception and understanding of domestic violence have evolved significantly since that era, warranting a critical reevaluation of this standpoint.

Here, we outline ten crucial issues with the Rahimi Appeals court decision:

  1. Historical Roots of Disarming Dangerous Individuals: The U.S. has a longstanding tradition of disarming individuals deemed dangerous, forming a fundamental basis for firearm restrictions.
  2. Neglecting Modern Domestic Violence Prevention Efforts: The Fifth Circuit failed to acknowledge contemporary efforts aimed at addressing domestic violence, failing to adapt to the evolving understanding of this issue.
  3. Alarming Domestic Violence Statistics: Every month, seventy women lose their lives in domestic violence incidents, underscoring the urgency to act.
  4. Increased Lethality with Firearm Presence: The presence of guns in abusive relationships elevates the likelihood of gun-related homicides by an eleven-fold factor.
  5. Guns as Instruments of Abuse and Control: Domestic violence offenders employ firearms to assault, terrorize, threaten, and maintain control over their victims.
  6. Collateral Damage and Family Tragedies: One in five violent deaths of intimate partners results in additional casualties within the family, including children.
  7. Link Between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings: A concerning correlation exists between mass shootings and individuals with a history of domestic violence or involvement in family-related homicides.
  8. Positive Impact of State Prohibitions: Thirty-one states, including Colorado, have implemented prohibitions on firearm possession for domestic violence abusers, resulting in significant reductions in domestic violence firearm homicides.
  9. Extending Laws to Include Dating Partners: Recognizing the scope of the issue, twenty states, including Colorado, have extended their laws to encompass those who abuse dating partners.
  10. Mandatory Firearm Relinquishment with Protection Orders: Many states, like Colorado, mandate the surrender of firearms upon the imposition of domestic violence protection orders, aiming to create safer environments for victims.

In light of these critical concerns, it is imperative for us to reevaluate and reinforce our stance on firearm prohibitions for individuals involved in domestic violence. This issue demands our collective attention and action to protect the vulnerable and create a safer society for all.

For more information and resources related to domestic violence and guns check out our page here.