(New York, NY, Wednesday, November 10, 2023) – The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) urges the United States Supreme Court’s reversal of the recent decision by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. v. Rahimi case. Oral arguments, presented on November 7, 2023, have far-reaching implications as they center around the critical issue of individuals subject to protective orders for domestic violence retaining their gun rights.
In the case at hand, Rahimi’s conviction was overturned, and his gun rights were reinstated, despite being in possession of at least two firearms while under a protective order for committing acts of domestic violence against his former partner and their young child. Compounding these concerns, he was further accused of recklessly discharging firearms in public, often endangering others.
The alarming prospect of allowing individuals with a history of domestic violence to retain access to firearms cannot be overstated, especially considering that an American now fatally shoots their spouse or dating partner every 12 hours. It is also reported that intimate partner homicides have spiked by 22% over the five years from 2018 to 2022.
Moreover, an average of 70 women in America are fatally shot by an intimate partner each month, with the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increasing the likelihood of a woman being killed by five times (Everytown analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), 2019). The repercussions of arming an abuser extend beyond the intimate relationship – impacting children who witness or live with such violence, as well as family members, coworkers, and law enforcement officers who respond to these situations. Furthermore, in over half of mass shootings over the past decade, the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member (Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “Mass Shootings in America, 2009–2020,” 2021, https://everytownresearch.org/maps/)
WBASNY stands united with numerous organizations opposing the recent decision and emphatically urges the United States Supreme Court to uphold existing laws, ensuring the protection of victims and survivors of domestic abuse from their tormentors. The gravity of this matter necessitates a steadfast commitment to safeguarding the well-being of those vulnerable to the perils of domestic violence.
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for nearly 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For more than four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, providing professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.