The Justice Department has requested that the Supreme Court uphold a federal law that prohibits individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms. In February, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the ban unconstitutional, stating that it violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Justice Department’s appeal to the Supreme Court emphasizes the need to protect against domestic violence, noting that over one million acts of domestic violence occur in the United States annually and that the presence of a firearm can increase the likelihood of escalating violence leading to homicide. The appeal was made on an expedited schedule to allow the justices to take up the case before the current term ends potentially. The 5th Circuit panel's decision to throw out the guilty plea and six-year prison sentence for Zackey Rahimi, who admitted to possessing guns, was based on his violation of a restraining order following his alleged assault of a former girlfriend.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to strike down the law as unconstitutional was not unanimous. The panel consisted of three judges appointed by Republican presidents, but the opinion was written by Judge Don Willett, who was appointed by President Trump. Judge Willett argued that the law went too far in restricting the Second Amendment rights of individuals under restraining orders, even though they have not been convicted of any crime.
The Justice Department's appeal to the Supreme Court comes at a time when gun violence and gun control have become significant issues in the United States. The Biden administration has proposed several measures to address gun violence, including background checks on all gun sales, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and funding for community violence prevention programs.
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