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US Supreme Court Upholds Law Barring Domestic Abusers from Owning Guns

The US Supreme Court has upheld federal gun restrictions for domestic abusers, clarifying its 2022 Second Amendment expansion despite challenges.

The United States Supreme Court on Friday, upheld a federal law that bars guns for domestic abusers, rejecting an argument pressed by gun rights groups that the prohibition violated the Second Amendment.

The 8-1 decision in one of the court’s most closely watched cases limited the scope of a blockbuster ruling the justices handed down just two years ago that prompted a flood of legal challenges to other gun laws across the nation, CNN reported.

The decision, which placed most of the court’s conservatives and liberals on the same side, could help shore up similar federal gun regulations that have been challenged since the Supreme Court vastly expanded gun rights in 2022, at least in situations where a criminal defendant is considered dangerous. That court’s 2022 ruling caused substantial confusion for lower court judges reviewing Second Amendment lawsuits.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the court had “no trouble” coalescing around the idea that an individual who poses a threat can be denied access to weapons.

“Our tradition of firearm regulation allows the government to disarm individuals who present a credible threat to the physical safety of others,” Roberts wrote.

The chief justice pushed back on the idea that its decision two years ago in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen had hemmed locked lower courts into striking down any gun law that didn’t have a direct historic analogue. Roberts said that some lower courts had “misunderstood the methodology of our recent Second Amendment cases.”

“The court’s ruling today leaves intact a specific federal criminal prohibition on gun possession by those subject to domestic violence-related restraining orders,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

“But there are dozens of other federal and state gun regulations that have been challenged since the court’s 2022 ruling in the Bruen case. The harder cases, like whether Congress can prohibit all felons, or all drug offenders, from possessing firearms, are still to come.”

Several of those cases are already pending at the Supreme Court and could be granted in coming days.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion in Bruen, authored a lone dissent on Friday.

“The court and government do not point to a single historical law revoking a citizen’s Second Amendment right based on possible interpersonal violence,” Thomas wrote.

 “Yet, in the interest of ensuring the Government can regulate one subset of society, today’s decision puts at risk the Second Amendment rights of many more.”

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