On November 7, 2023, the United States Supreme Court will hear United States vs. Rahimi. This critical case will determine whether persons charged with domestic violence offenses may be permitted to retain ownership of firearms. If the court decides in favor of Rahimi, it will immediately affect the safety and well-being of domestic violence survivors and their families in New York, and across the country.
This case rests on a challenge made by Mr. Rahimi. As per the ACLU website, Mr. Rahimi was convicted of possessing a gun while subject to a domestic violence protective order, issued after he violently assaulted his domestic partner in a parking lot and shot a gun when he noticed that others had witnessed his abuse. Mr. Rahimi challenged the law as a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms (Source: https://www.aclu.org/cases/united-states-v-rahimi)
As part of Safe Horizon’s advocacy for survivor-informed legislation, we hosted two roundtable discussions regarding this case in partnership with New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, Commissioner Cecile Noel of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, and Safe Horizon staff and clients. The roundtable discussions brought domestic violence survivors’ voices to the public conversation and drew attention to our deep concern about the potential upending of current protections for domestic violence survivors from gun violence and how it will put the safety of survivors at risk. You can find a recording on our Instagram.
At one of the roundtables, Liz Roberts, Safe Horizon CEO, said that “The stakes could not be any higher: will the United States Supreme Court vote to allow domestic violence offenders and other persons who have been served protective orders to own or possess a firearm, or will they vote to ensure safety for survivors?” and a Safe Horizon client, a survivor of gun violence herself, remarked that “If this decision is overturned where people who cause harm can have guns, our future, our children’s future, will be affected.”
These quotes highlight the reality that this Supreme Court case will quite literally mean life and death.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their victims. Moreover, Everytown reports that an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner each month (Source: everytownresearch.org/domestic-violence).
We urge you to join us in calling for the Supreme Court to prioritize the safety of domestic violence survivors! To help spread the message of the impact this case might have, you can find a series of graphics on our social media – we invite you to share with your networks.