Categories: Press Statements

by Sonya Coleman


Categories: Press Statements


Supreme Court’s Decision to Prevent Intimate Partner Abusers from Having Firearms (Ruling in Rahimi)

Today the Supreme Court of the United States, ruling on United States V. Rahimi decided (8-1) that intimate partner abusers subject to “domestic-violence restraining orders” under federal law, and found by the court to “pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another” can be prohibited from possession of firearms, without any violation of the Second Amendment. This decision upholds federal protections for victims and survivors of intimate partner abuse and ensures that guns remain out of the hands of perpetrators of such violence.

Jeremy Stein, Executive Director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence said, “We have an obligation to protect all Americans in this country, especially women, children and other vulnerable victims of abuse. We applaud the Supreme Court for finally taking a stance against such senseless abuse by reprehensible gun owners who pose a real physical threat to our safety.”

Nationally, more than half of all intimate partner homicides involve a firearm. The Rahimi case originated in Texas. According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, firearms account for more than 70% of intimate partner homicides, and over the last decade, the number of women killed by an intimate partner has nearly doubled.


Who is Rahimi?

At the center of Rahimi’s challenge is the Feb. 2020 civil protective order entered against him in a state court in Texas. The order stemmed from a Dec. 2019 incident in a parking lot in which Rahimi (among other things) dragged his then-girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child, back to his car when she tried to leave after an argument. Rahimi pushed her inside the car, where she hit her head on the dashboard. And when Rahimi realized that someone had witnessed the incident, he fired a gun at the bystander.

The civil protective order entered in a Texas state court barred Rahimi from committing further violence. It also prohibited him from going within 200 yards of the woman’s home and workplace, harassing both the woman and her family, and from having a gun. Rahimi was soon arrested for violating the restraining order, and he was charged with using a gun to threaten another woman.

In Dec. 2020 and Jan. 2021, while the civil protective order was still in effect, Rahimi was involved in five shootings, including one incident in which he was involved in a car accident and shot at the driver of the other car and another in which he fired into the air after his friend’s credit card was declined at a fast-food restaurant.

When police identified Rahimi as a suspect in the shootings and obtained a warrant to search his home, they found a rifle and pistol. Because the civil protective order explicitly barred him from having a gun, he was indicted on charges that he had violated Section 922(g)(8).


The Supreme Court holds that when an individual has been found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another, that individual may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment.

Justice Roberts , delivering today’s opinion explains that “Since the founding, our Nation’s firearm laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms. As applied to the facts of this case, Section 922(g)(8) fits comfortably within this tradition.”

Roberts writes that “some courts have misunderstood the methodology of our recent Second Amendment cases. These precedents were not meant to suggest a law trapped in amber.” Otherwise, he explains, the Second Amendment would only provide protection to “muskets and sabers.”

States United will continue its efforts to support State level advocacy, education and the enactment of common sense gun laws.  We support 31 State affiliates with their important local work, providing policy expertise, coalition building and technical assistance to address the gun violence epidemic. We are the only national GVP organization whose sole mission is support of the States.