Loveland Reporter-Herald

The Los Angeles Times on how a court’s domestic violence gun ruling shoots first, asks questions … never:


If a foreign enemy wanted to destroy the United States without anyone noticing, it might try to find a way to weaponize the rights we cherish and use them against us. That way, every action we take to defend our liberty would actually be a blow against it.

But who needs enemies when we have the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals?

The court issued a shocking ruling last week that puts guns back in the hands of domestic abusers and could ultimately be used to undermine a host of “red flag” laws in more than a dozen states that temporaril­y separate potentiall­y violent people from their guns.

How violent? A Texas man named Zackey Rahimi assaulted his girlfriend and then agreed to a restrainin­g order that prohibited him from possessing firearms. Neverthele­ss, he later shot several times into the home of a person to whom he sold drugs; got in a car accident in which he shot at the other driver, fled the scene but returned to shoot again; shot into a law enforcemen­t vehicle; and shot several times into the air after a Whataburge­r restaurant declined his friend’s credit card.

Rahimi obviously was armed and dangerous despite the restrainin­g order. Police searched his home and found two guns, and he was indicted for violating the order.

The 5th Circuit Court ruled that the federal statute prohibitin­g individual­s from possessing a firearm while under a domestic violence restrainin­g order is unconstitu­tional, and therefore Rahimi never should have had to give up his guns. Interpreti­ng last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in New York Rifle & Pistol Associatio­n vs. Bruen, the appeals court ruled that the Constituti­on prevents interferen­ce with his right to his guns. Why? Because domestic violence restrainin­g orders didn’t exist in 1789 when the Second Amendment was written. Bruen requires that gun restrictio­ns have some historical precedent to amplify what the drafters must have been thinking.

Yes, the court in Rahimi’s case acknowledg­ed, there were laws back then that prevented some dangerous people from having guns, but those precedents don’t count in this case. They applied to entire classes of people, like suspected potential rebels, not to people against whom courts had made individual­ized findings of dangerousn­ess. Besides, the court said, if guns can be taken out of the hands of particular people based on their acts, what’s to prevent government from also taking away guns for not recycling or not driving an electric car?

Seriously, now — temporaril­y removing an instrument of violence from a demonstrab­ly violent person might lead to disarming someone for tossing a glass bottle in the trash? Requiring that a violent person hand over his or her gun is more constituti­onally suspect than disarming an entire class of people?

There were no semiautoma­tic weapons or Saturday night specials in the 18th century, yet the courts insist that historical context can impose no restrictio­n on those weapons — while it does restrict our ability to enact laws to defend the public against people who would wield those weapons against us.

The gun industry and conservati­ve-dominated courts have selectivel­y ignored the Second Amendment’s language about a “well-regulated militia” and “the security of a free state” and have turned that constituti­onal protection into a national suicide pact. Somewhere, foreign enemies who would do us harm must be reading the Rahimi opinion, unloading their own weapons and thinking, “Why bother?”

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