Manatt Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief for NYCLA Supporting Cert Petition in Domestic Violence and Guns Case

Manatt has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Rahimi on behalf of the New York County Lawyers Association, one of the largest and most influential county bar associations in the country. The brief was filed in support of the United States of America’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit concluding that a federal law penalizing the possession of firearms by individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders violates the Second Amendment.

The Manatt team was comprised of Partners Jacqueline Wolff, Benjamin Shatz, and Samantha Katze and Associates Tina Lapsia and Carolyn Sharzer

United States v. Rahimi arises from the indictment of Rahimi for violating 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8), which prohibits a person subject to a court-ordered domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm. As a result of Rahimi’s violent acts against his girlfriend, Rahimi had agreed to a court-ordered restraining order that required him to turn in any firearms and not purchase any firearms while the order was in effect. Following a shooting, a search of his home uncovered a .45 caliber pistol and .308-caliber rifle. Rahimi unsuccessfully sought to dismiss the indictment, arguing that Section 922(g)(8) violated the Second Amendment. After the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas denied his motion, Rahimi appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

Initially, the Fifth Circuit rejected Rahimi’s appeal, affirming the district court’s decision. However, following the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Fifth Circuit withdrew its decision affirming the district court. The Fifth Circuit then reversed the district court, agreeing with Rahimi and striking down Section 922(g)(8) as unconstitutional. The Fifth Circuit concluded that there was no historical precedent for regulating the ability of domestic abusers to possess firearms and hence, under Bruen, were constrained to strike down the statute.

In its brief, Manatt, on behalf of NYCLA, argues that the Supreme Court should grant certiorari because allowing the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Rahimi to stand casts doubt on New York’s longstanding gun licensing regime and laws preventing individuals who have been found to pose a risk of domestic violence from possessing firearms.  Not only could striking down Section 922(g)(8) threaten New York’s ability to protect domestic abuse victims via its firearms licensing regime, but it could also threaten New York’s ability to disarm dangerous individuals through Family Court orders of protection and under New York’s Extreme Risk Protection (ERPO) statute.

As explained in the brief, contrary to what the Fifth Circuit found, there is historical precedent for regulating the ability of domestic abusers to possess firearms, because “[h]istorically, dangerous people do not enjoy the same Second Amendment rights.”  And the reality is that “New York State and New York City have good reason to restrict domestic abusers’ access to firearms. Where a firearm is present in a domestic violence situation, the risk of homicide increases by 500 percent.”

“The data is clear: Where domestic abusers have less access to firearms, their victims are less likely to die,” the brief said.  

Read the full brief here and see more information on the case from NYCLA here.  



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