Statement from Attorney General James on Supreme Court Decision Upholding Federal Law Blocking Domestic Abusers from Possessing Guns

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today issued a statement after the United States Supreme Court announced a decision in United States v. Rahimi, reversing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision that a federal law prohibiting persons under a domestic violence restraining order from accessing guns violates the Second Amendment. The case involved Zackey Rahimi, who was under a domestic violence restraining order for assaulting his girlfriend, and was therefore barred from possessing guns. Rahimi was subsequently involved in multiple shootings and then indicted for possession of a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case upholds the federal law and will ensure domestic abusers cannot legally access firearms:

“Gun safety laws save lives. I am pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the federal law that stops domestic abusers from legally possessing firearms. This law, and the similar statutes that have been established in nearly every American state and territory, help protect vulnerable people, and keep guns out of dangerous hands. I am proud of the work my fellow attorneys general and I did to stand up for this federal law and to protect commonsense guardrails when it comes to gun safety. I will continue to use the great tools of my office to get guns off New York streets and protect our state’s residents from the scourge of gun violence.”

Attorney General James as part of a coalition of 25 attorneys general, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court arguing that striking down the existing federal law would make it more difficult to protect survivors of domestic abuse. Attorney General James and the coalition noted that studies have shown an abuser is five times more likely to murder an intimate partner if a firearm is in the home. Attorney General James and the coalition also noted that in addition to the federal law, 46 states, the District of Columbia, and multiple territories have laws limiting the ability of those under a domestic violence restraining order to access firearms, and asserted that the lower court ruling could negatively impact these existing laws and make it harder to protect Americans’ lives and safety. Additionally, the coalition pointed out that 80 percent of these homicide victims are women, and pregnant women and women of color are disproportionately the targets of intimate partner violence.

Attorney General James has been a leader in the fight to protect New Yorkers and communities across the nation from gun violence. In April 2024, Attorney General James took down gun traffickers for selling ghost guns and other firearms in Central New York. In March 2024, Attorney General James secured a $7.8 million judgment against gun retailer Indie Guns for illegally selling ghost gun components in New York. In August 2023, Attorney General James took action with a coalition of 18 attorneys general to defend Delaware’s ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. In May 2023, Attorney General James sued a gun accessory manufacturer that aided the Buffalo mass shooter. In March 2023, Attorney General James secured a court order banning 10 gun distributors from selling and shipping ghost gun parts into New York