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Attorney General Josh Stein Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Public Safety and Victims of Domestic Abuse

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
919-716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a federal law that will keep guns out of the hands of people with domestic violence orders against them.

“Simply put, this law saves lives,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous, violent people is one of the most basic things we can do to protect North Carolinians, and I urge the Supreme Court to uphold the law.”

The defendant in United States v. Rahimi was under a domestic violence restraining order issued by a state court in Texas for assaulting his girlfriend. He challenged the statute on the ground that it violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued an opinion earlier this year agreeing. Attorney General Stein and the coalition are asking the Supreme Court to overrule the lower court and restore the federal law.

In addition to the federal law, nearly every state in the country has enacted a law limiting access to firearms for those subject to domestic violence restraining orders. The appeals court ruling puts at risk domestic violence victims who may be harmed or killed by their abusers. In addition, the ruling hamstrings both the federal government and states in their efforts to protect their residents’ safety.

These kinds of laws are both constitutional and lifesaving. They reduce homicides of both intimate partners and law enforcement officers. An abuser is five times more likely to murder his or her intimate partner if a firearm is in the home. In the United States, 80 percent of these homicide victims are women.

Attorney General Stein also recently filed an amicus brief supporting a new federal rule closing the “ghost gun” loophole so domestic abusers and violent felons can’t get untraceable guns.

Attorney General Stein is joined in filing this brief by the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, and the chief state’s attorney of Connecticut.

A copy of the brief is available here.

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