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Fifth Circuit Strikes Requirement that Subjects of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Forfeit Guns

On Thursday a three judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision striking the requirement that subjects of domestic violence restraining orders give up their guns.

The panel heard the case on appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The panel consisted of Judges Edith Jones, James Ho, and Cory T. Wilson.

In the majority opinion, Wilson, a Trump appointee, wrote:

The question presented in this case is not whether prohibiting the possession of firearms by someone subject to a domestic violence restraining order is a laudable policy goal. The question is whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), a specific statute that does so, is constitutional under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Wilson explains that the plaintiff, Zackey Rahimi, was indicated for possessing a firearm while the subject of a domestic violence restraining order.

His conviction was upheld by the district court and a prior Fifth Circuit panel. However, following the Supreme Court of the United States’ Bruen (2022) decision, the Fifth Circuit panel “withdrew its opinion and requested supplemental briefing on the impact of that case on this one.” After weighing the impact of Bruen, the Fifth Circuit panel decided to vacate Rahimi’s conviction.

Wilson noted: “Considering the issue afresh, we conclude that Bruen requires us to re-evaluate our Second Amendment jurisprudence and that under Bruen, § 922(g)(8) fails to pass constitutional muster. We therefore reverse the district court’s ruling to the contrary and vacate Rahimi’s conviction.”

The case is United States v. Rahimi, No. 21-11001 in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


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