Sacramento, August 23, 2023: Americans Against Gun Violence filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on Monday in the Supreme Court case of United States v. Rahimi. In this case, the Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether a federal law prohibiting individuals subject to a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) from owning a gun violates the Second Amendment.
Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Zackey Rahimi, who was under a DVRO, for illegally possessing firearms. Rahimi was also a drug dealer and had been involved in five shootings in a two-month period before his arrest for gun possession. The Fifth Circuit had previously upheld Rahimi’s conviction, but following the Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen decision, the Fifth Circuit ruled that according to Bruen’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, Rahimi had a constitutional right to own a gun. The Bruen decision is in turn the progeny of the Supreme Court’s rogue 2008 Heller decision, in which a narrow 5-4 majority of justices reversed over two centuries of legal precedent, including four prior Supreme Court opinions and scores of lower court decisions, in ruling for the first time in U.S. history that the Second Amendment conferred any kind of individual right to own a gun unrelated to service in a “well regulated militia.”
In our amicus brief in Rahimi, we point out that it should take the Supreme Court very little time to conclude that any of its prior decisions that might be reasonably construed as conferring a constitutional right for someone like Zackey Rahimi to own a gun must be deeply flawed. As we’ve done in our amicus briefs in prior Supreme Court Second Amendment cases, though, we go much farther in or brief in Rahimi than merely calling on the Court to reconsider a prior appeals court ruling.
We note that the Heller and Bruen decisions endorsed an interpretation of the Second Amendment that the late Chief Justice Warren Burger had called “one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word ‘fraud’ – on the American public by special interest groups” that he had ever seen in his lifetime. We document that there is overwhelming evidence that guns in the homes and in the communities of honest, law-abiding Americans are far more likely to be used to harm innocent people than to protect them. We point out that the rate of gun related deaths in the United States is ten times higher than the average rate in the other high income democratic countries of the world; and that the main reasons for this vast difference are our extraordinarily lax gun control laws as compared with the laws in other advanced democracies and the related extraordinarily large number of privately owned guns in circulation, as demonstrated by the graph below.
We note that since the 2008 Heller decision, the annual number of gun related deaths in our country has risen from 31,593 deaths per year to 48,830 deaths per year, and that if we were to adopt stringent gun control laws comparable to the laws that have long been in effect in other high income democratic countries, we could expect to reduce our rate of gun related deaths to one tenth the current rate, saving more than 40,000 American lives a year. We note, though, that we cannot adopt such laws until the Heller decision and its progeny are overturned. We conclude by calling on the Supreme Court to not only reverse the Fifth Circuit’s ruling in Rahimi, but to also reverse its own Heller and Bruen decisions which are literally death sentences for tens of thousands of Americans annually.
Click on this link to read our amicus brief in its entirety.