US v. Rahimi

Today, the laws in place meant to protect victim-survivors from gun violence at the hands of their abusers are in jeopardy. The Supreme Court of The United States is in the process of hearing the case of US v. Rahimi, which will determine whether it is unconstitutional for a person to be banned from possessing a firearm if they have a standing domestic violence restraining order against them. If it is deemed a violation of Second Amendment rights, we would be putting guns in the hands of abusers, decreasing the sought-out safety that protective orders offer victim-survivors in their safety planning.


At the center of this case is the defendant Zackey Rahimi who, in 2019, physically assaulted his girlfriend in a parking lot in Texas, threatening to shoot her if she turned to law enforcement. After several shooting incidents, Rahimi was convicted of possessing a gun while subject to a domestic violence protective order. This conviction was later reversed by the 5th Circuit Court of the U.S. Court of Appeals, which stated that a domestic violence restraining order is not a constitutionally justified reason to restrict a person’s right to bear arms, as it is a civil matter and does not require a full criminal hearing. This ruling is a complete disregard of the common-sense gun regulations needed to protect the lives of victim-survivors and their families.


The lethal intersection between gun ownership and domestic violence is undeniable. Studies have shown that domestic violence incidents involving firearms are twelve times more likely to result in death than incidents involving other weapons or bodily force. [1] According to the Violence Policy Center, more than half of all intimate partner homicides in the United States are committed with firearms. [2] Seeing as Nevada has ranked in the top ten states for the last 23 out of 25 years for women murdered by men, the implications this ruling could have on Nevada are harrowing. The research shows that the majority of women murdered in Nevada die at the hands of an intimate partner using a firearm. [3]



Ahead of the oral arguments on November 7th, organizations like NNEDV, Every Town for Gun Safety, and hundreds of domestic violence prevention advocates organized to uplift the lived experiences of victim-survivors, demanding that the Supreme Court rule in favor of disarming abusers and standing for common-sense gun policies. Following initial oral arguments, the Supreme Court appears poised to reverse the dangerous ruling of the Fifth Circuit, though there are disagreements on how it will be reversed. The Supreme Court’s final ruling will ultimately determine the safety that victim-survivors and their families are legally entitled to. Final rulings are not expected to be reached until summer of 2024, NCEDSV is following this case closely and will be providing updates as they become available.


Nicole Winckelmann

Policy Specialist



[1] National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 2022. Domestic Violence and Firearms. Retrieved from:

[2] Violence Policy Center. September 2018. When men murder women: An analysis of 2016 homicide data. Retrieved from:

[3] Violence Policy Center. October 2023. When Men Murder Women: A Review of 25 Years of Female Homicide Victimization in the United States. Retrieved from: wmmw2023.pdf (


“This project was supported by Subgrant No. 2022-VAWA-28 awarded by the state administering office for the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice’s STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the US Department of Justice.”