Texas (ECWd) –
On February 2, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an Opinion in United States v Rahimi overturning a conviction of unauthorized possession of a firearm while under a Domestic Violence Protective Order and declared the provisions of Federal law and Texas state court order prohibiting possession of firearms while under a protective order as unconstitutional when applied to these circumstances.
From the Opinion:
“The question presented in this case is not whether prohibiting the possession of firearms by someone subject to a domestic violence restraining order is a laudable policy goal. The question is whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), a specific statute that does so, is constitutional under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. In the light of N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022), it is not.”
Between December 2020 and January 2021, Rahimi was involved in five shootings in and around Arlington, Texas. On December 1, after selling narcotics to an individual, he fired multiple shots into that individual’s residence. The following day, Rahimi was involved in a car accident. He exited his vehicle, shot at the other driver, and fled the scene. He returned to the scene in a different vehicle and shot at the other driver’s car. On December 22, Rahimi shot at a constable’s vehicle. On January 7, Rahimi fired multiple shots in the air after his friend’s credit card was declined at a Whataburger restaurant.
Officers in the Arlington Police Department identified Rahimi as a suspect in the shootings and obtained a warrant to search his home. Officers executed the warrant and found a rifle and a pistol. Rahimi admitted that he possessed the firearms. He also admitted that he was subject to an agreed civil protective order entered February 5, 2020, by a Texas state court after Rahimi’s alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend. The protective order restrained him from harassing, stalking, or threatening his ex-girlfriend and their child. The order also expressly prohibited Rahimi from possessing a firearm. A federal grand jury indicted Rahimi for possessing a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8).
Rahimi moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that § 922(g)(8) is unconstitutional, but he acknowledged that United States v. McGinnis, 956 F.3d 747 (5th Cir. 2020), foreclosed his argument. The district court denied Rahimi’s motion, and he pled guilty.
“Doubtless, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) embodies salutary policy goals meant to protect vulnerable people in our society. Weighing those policy goals’ merits through the sort of means-end scrutiny our prior precedent indulged, we previously concluded that the societal benefits of § 922(g)(8) outweighed its burden on Rahimi’s Second Amendment rights. But Bruen forecloses any such analysis in favor of a historical analogical inquiry into the scope of the allowable burden on the Second Amendment right. Through that lens, we conclude that § 922(g)(8)’s ban on possession of firearms is an “outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted.” Id. Therefore, the statute is unconstitutional, and Rahimi’s conviction under that statute must be vacated.”United_States_v_Rahimi_Opinion