As U.S. Supreme Court Considers Today’s Argument in U.S. v Rahimi, Attorney General Bonta Reaffirms California’s Commitment to Preventing Gun Violence Through Protective Orders

Tuesday, November 7, 2023
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OAKLAND — As the U.S. Supreme Court considers today’s argument in U.S. v. Rahimi, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement urging the court to reverse a decision that would endanger domestic violence victims and allow firearms to remain in the hands of their abusers. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision in U.S. v. Rahimi would invalidate a federal law that prohibits adjudicated domestic abusers subject to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVROs) from possessing firearms. The Fifth Circuit vacated the criminal conviction of a defendant who had possessed a firearm while subject to a DVRO, which a state court in Texas issued against him after finding he had assaulted his ex-girlfriend and was likely to do so again. On August 22, 2023, Attorney General Bonta joined a coalition of 25 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the case, urging the Supreme Court to strike down the Fifth Court’s decision and reaffirming California’s commitment to preventing gun violence through protective orders such as DVROs.

“No one should ever fear becoming a victim of gun violence, let alone at the hands of an abusive partner or loved one. We must protect and empower survivors of domestic violence,” said Attorney General Bonta. “When an abuser has access to a firearm, it endangers the safety and lives of those around them. Violent perpetrators like Zackey Rahimi have demonstrated their risk to public safety and have no business possessing a firearm. Removing dangerous weapons from people who pose a danger to others is key to protecting both survivors and the broader community. My office will continue to defend and support our state’s vital domestic violence and gun safety laws and policies, including Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and other court-issued protective orders. I urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit’s misguided decision.” 

Today’s statement comes one day after Attorney General Bonta released the second data report issued by the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Gun Violence Prevention, providing an in-depth look at the ties between domestic violence and firearms. The report examines data illustrating the impact of firearms-related domestic violence, including both family and intimate partner-related violence with firearms. The report documents California’s long-term progress in reducing domestic violence involving firearms and recent challenges arising during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the report highlights California’s efforts to empower and protect survivors by providing a range of support services, offering crisis intervention and safety planning options, providing for DVROs, and enforcing laws to protect against gun violence.

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