Monday, January 15, 2024






        Here’s an open question for the U.S. Supreme Court, which has taken a strongly originalist stance toward gun control: Do you want blood on your hands again?


        That’s right, again. The nation’s highest court has sometimes issued rulings that led directly to killings, even murders. One was the infamous Dred Scott ruling of 1857, which held that the Constitution did not grant citizenship or rights to anyone of Black African descent. This led to the killing or recapture of numerous escaped slaves who had fled to so-called “free” states prior to the Civil War.


        Or its much more recent 2022 ruling in the Bruen case that ended New York’s limits on concealed carrying of guns, the high court holding that since there is no multi-century American history of such regulations, they are overridden by the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.


        Now another gun control case, called U.S. vs. Rahimi confronts the court with questions of whether it’s legal to prohibit domestic violence offenders or those under restraining orders from owning firearms.


        Right now, they can’t, under a federal law signed by former President Donald Trump. But the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals early in 2023 sided with gun rights supporters and held that law unconstitutional.


        This did not end such laws in other appellate circuits, including the Ninth, covering California and most of the West. Indications from the public arguments over the Rahimi lawsuit indicate the justices might let the Trump-era law stand.


That would be good for California women, now protected under a 10-year-old state law. Said state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, “The data is clear. Domestic violence abusers should not have firearms. When an abuser has access to a firearm, it endangers the safety of those around them.”


        Here’s some of that data:


        Fully 83 percent of shooting victims in domestic violence cases are females killed or wounded by a current or former intimate partner. In more than 68 percent of mass shootings, the perpetrator either killed one partner or family member or had a history of domestic violence. American women are 11 times more likely to be killed by guns than women in other “advanced” countries. And domestic violence calls involving firearms increased by 63 percent between 1993 and 2022. Female victims of domestic violence are five times more likely to be killed if the male involved has access to a gun.


        If that history doesn’t make a strong case for keeping guns away from persons under domestic violence restraining orders, it’s hard to see what might.


        That why current California law makes sense in requiring state-funded domestic violence clinics to offer every victim a gun violence restraining order. Such an order should keep guns away from people known to have assailed their wives or partners.


        But if the Supreme Court should go counter to the impression it left during its late 2023 hearing of arguments on Rahimi, those protections would disappear.


        And the high court very likely would once again have serious culpability, with the strong likelihood of a return to old gun violence habits in domestic situations.


        Such an outcome would be almost inevitable if the current federal law were struck down on the grounds it has no basis in 18th or 19th Century American history. In fact, there is no such basis: domestic violence restraining orders were unheard of in those times, with wife beating a common event.


        Evidence abounds that human nature has not changed in such situations. The strongest indicator is that during the pre-vaccine days of the coronavirus pandemic between 2019 and 2021, domestic violence calls to police increased by 80 percent, as couples confined to their homes had few safety valves. That number is even more remarkable considering the drop in such cases during the surrounding years.


        All of which means this life-and-death issue is now completely up to Supreme Court justices, who have the opportunity to sustain a law proven to save thousands of lives in domestic disputes.


        If they don’t, they will once again have considerable blood on their hands.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment