Attorney General Bonta to Supreme Court: Domestic Abusers Should Not Have Access to Guns

Thursday, April 20, 2023
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Joins multistate coalition in filing amicus brief calling on United States Supreme Court to reverse lower court’s decision in U.S. v. Rahimi

OAKLAND— California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a multistate coalition in a legal effort asking the United States Supreme Court to review and overturn the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in United States v. Rahimi, which held that the federal prohibition on possession of firearms by an individual subject to a domestic violence restraining order violates the Second Amendment. The coalition seeks to preserve laws prohibiting subjects of domestic violence restraining orders from possessing a firearm and argues that the court’s reasoning would undermine efforts by states and the federal government to protect victims of domestic abuse and to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who present a danger to public safety. 

“This decision flies in the face of our stark reality: firearms are used to commit more than half of all intimate partner homicides in the United States," said Attorney General Bonta. "Californians should know that restraining orders, including Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, can be used to prohibit dangerous people from possessing firearms in California. These orders are an essential tool that remain available to victims of domestic abuse. I urge Californians who are in danger to utilize these life-saving tools.”  

California laws allow victims of domestic abuse to seek a protective order that includes a prohibition on the possession of firearms. Across the nation, 45 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require or allow limitations on the ability of those under a domestic violence restraining order to access firearms. While the court in Rahimi specifically noted that its decision did not address the validity of such protective orders, the court's reasoning threatens to undermine those public safety efforts.

The amicus brief is part of Attorney General Bonta's sustained effort to protect the public from gun violence. Recently, the Attorney General launched a first-in-the-nation Office of Gun Violence Prevention, took legal action against ghost gun retailers, advocated for and defended commonsense gun laws, worked on the ground to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals, and announced Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), to strengthen California's existing concealed carry weapon (CCW) lawsCalifornia’s AB 1594, which was sponsored by Attorney General Bonta and signed into law in July 2022, creates a pathway for Californians who have been harmed by gun violence to hold the appropriate parties — including gun manufacturers and distributors — accountable. AB 1594 goes into effect in California on July 1, 2023.  

Attorney General Bonta also provided grants to local law enforcement to support activities related to seizing weapons from individuals prohibited from possessing them, called on credit card companies to do their part to end illegal gun trafficking and mass shootings, and promoted the use of the state’s red flag laws to remove weapons from individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others. 

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Illinois and the District of Columbia. 

A copy of the brief can be found here. 




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