We Must Not Shred 30 Years of Protections That Keep Firearms Away from Domestic Abusers

Statement by National NOW President Christian F. Nunes on the Ruling Issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in United States v. Rahimi

WASHINGTON, DC–NOW members are outraged by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that struck down 30 years of legal safeguards that kept those under a protective order for domestic violence from owning firearms. The panel ruled unanimously in United States v. Rahimi that violent domestic abusers subject to a protective order have a constitutional right to own a gun. 

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ agenda is clear—to prop up the patriarchy, protect toxic masculinity and make justice more elusive for survivors of domestic violence.  

The Trump-appointed judge who wrote the opinion in the case compared domestic abusers to reckless drivers and people who don’t protect the environment.  ‘Could speeders be stripped of their right to keep and bear arms?’ he wrote.  ‘People who do not recycle or drive an electric vehicle?’ 

There can be no excuse for this kind of false equivalence and obscene disrespect for survivors of domestic abuse.  The conservatives in Congress and in federal courts have no shame, no decency, and no clue about what happens in the real world. 

Every day, an average of three women are killed by a current or former partner.  And when a male abuser can obtain a firearm, the risk he will use that weapon to shoot and kill a female partner increases by one thousand percent. 

The Court’s decision is a transparent and political move to advance an extremist agenda.   

NOW will continue to fight back in the courts, Congress, and states.  We need laws that protect women and don’t let abusers off the hook—or give them unlimited access to dangerous firearms.  And we need judges who’ll enforce and strengthen those laws.  The Rahimi decision must not stand. 

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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org. 

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