The Department of Justice is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a federal ban to remain in force that would prohibit people under domestic abuse restraining orders from having guns.
The Justice Department is seeking the intervention after a federal appeals court ruled last month that people with domestic violence restraining orders have a constitutional right to own guns.
“More than a million acts of domestic violence occur in the United States every year, and the presence of a firearm increases the chance that violence will escalate to homicide,” a Justice Department petition states.
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The Supreme Court petition was posted to Twitter by Pepperdine University law professor Jake Charles Friday.
The national debate began after police in Texas found a rifle and a pistol at the home of a man who was the subject of a civil protective order that banned him from harassing, stalking or threatening his ex-girlfriend and their child. The order also banned him from having guns.
A federal grand jury indicted the man, who pled guilty. He later challenged his indictment, arguing the law that prevented him from owning a gun was unconstitutional.
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At first, a federal appeals court ruled against him, saying it was more important for society to keep guns out of the hands of people accused of domestic violence than it was to protect a person’s individual right to own a gun.
But, last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a new ruling in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, that set new standards for interpreting the Second Amendment by saying the government had to justify gun control laws by showing they are “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
The appeals court withdrew its original decision and decided to vacate the man’s conviction, ruling the federal law banning people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from owning guns was unconstitutional.
The decision came from a three-judge panel consisting of judges Cory Wilson, James Ho and Edith Jones. Wilson and Ho were nominated by former Republican President Trump. Jones was nominated by former Republican President Reagan.