Fair or Not, Gun Bans for Allegations of Domestic Abuse Are Here To Stay

karen roach / shutterstock.com
karen roach / shutterstock.com

On November 7th, the Supreme Court heard 90 minutes of oral arguments about upholding a direct and unwavering version of the Second Amendment. Hearing things through, they didn’t think the founding fathers would declare the modern statute of domestic violence should be declared unconstitutional.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett are two historically conservative justices. When it comes to upholding the Constitution, these two set the gold standard in doing things properly. Each holding a crucial vote on the issue, when the 1994 domestic abuse regulation was brought up, neither seemed to bat an eye at the idea of keeping it in place. Even though they did argue that some other governmental actions could deny someone the legitimate right to practice their Second Amendment rights.

Much the same, Justice Brett Kavanaugh is also known to be a historically conservative voice when it comes to firearms. While remaining silent through much of the discussions, he pointed out that eliminating the law could cause massive issues for the federal background check systems.

The case at hand is U.S. v. Rahimi, with Zackey Rahimi being charged with violating this federal ban. A case that came on the docket suddenly, the case will test the constitutionality of all gun restrictions. With NY having a case on the dockets surrounding concealed carry limits, officials there pressed the case about gun restrictions in early American history. This opened the doors for Rahimi to press this to the Supreme Court.

His federal public defender (shocked these even exist), Matthew Wright, ascertains that the absence of early laws prohibiting domestic abusers from owning firearms means the current laws are unjust and cannot stand.

On the opposite end, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar defended the ban and believes that past history shouldn’t be the only measuring stick. So convinced of this, she used some of her rebuttal time to advocate for justices to extend this belief so as to overturn other cases. This included ones attempting to remove laws about firearms being possessed by known felons, as well as firearms with missing serial numbers.

In Rahimi’s case, Wright ascertained that his client had a judicial order issued after his client agreed to a hearing with no lawyer or adequate time to present evidence. “They made a one-sided proceeding that is short, a complete proxy for a total denial of a fundamental and individual constitutional right.” Yet his twisting of the events and how he connected the two in hypotheticals left some justices puzzled at his tactics.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Barrett expressed reservations at the notion of authorities taking away the Second Amendment from those who are deemed “not responsible.” As Roberts explained, “Responsibility is a very broad concept.” He wondered if speeding or yelling at a basketball game could be ruled as “not responsible” by some. “I mean, not taking your recycling to the curb on Thursdays. … What seems like it’s irresponsible to some people might seem like not a big deal to others.”

This isn’t just a case about interpretation of the rulings in the lower courts or about the way we look at having access to firearms. Rather, this kind of case is the one with implications that will reach into the ether and leave us with some massive ripples of this interpretation.

Making decisions about your gun rights is incredibly difficult. There is little argument about reports of domestic abuse going up when you compare now to when the Constitution was written. However, there is a question about the veracity of these reports. Additionally, we have the right to due process being afforded to everyone. If we strip the rights of our people without them being convicted, then there is an argument that they are not being afforded due process.

If you spent any real time in the military, you likely heard of someone receiving a domestic violence charge, even when they weren’t the aggressor; simply male. This charge alone is enough reason to send them out of the military, complete with a dishonorable discharge and with no benefits.

While it had great intentions when it was written, now 29 years later it seems it’s time to go away has come.