SCOTUS Ruling in Rahimi Case Upholds Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors, BWJP Experts Celebrate 

BWJP Advocates Applaud Supreme Court Decision to Maintain Gun Control Law Safeguarding Domestic Violence Survivors

WASHINGTON DC. (June 21, 2024) In a landmark 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has upheld a significant gun control law, prompting widespread relief and celebration among domestic violence experts and advocates. The ruling has been heralded as a crucial victory for the safety and well-being of domestic violence survivors nationwide.

The U.S. v. Rahimi case centered on the constitutionality of barring individuals with domestic violence protection orders from accessing firearms. In a closely watched decision, the Court ruled that such restrictions are consistent with the Second Amendment, thereby preserving critical protections for survivors.

In a decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that “An individual found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment.” In a welcome narrowing of previous holdings, the ruling emphasized that “the [Second Amendment] right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” noting that “From the earliest days of the common law, firearm regulations have included provisions barring people from misusing weapons to harm or menace others.”

Specifically, the Court held that the federal statute that prohibits individuals subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm is Constitutional on its face. Because the law applies only to those found by a court to pose “a credible threat to the physical safety of another,” and the restriction is limited to the time that the restraining order is in place, the Court had “no trouble concluding” that the statute survives Rahimi’s challenge to its Constitutionality.

This ruling has been met with resounding approval from domestic violence prevention organizations and legal experts. The Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP) has been particularly vocal, expressing profound appreciation for the decision that underscores the Court's commitment to protecting the vulnerable. BWJP experts assert that this ruling reinforces essential protections for domestic violence survivors and helps to prevent a significant rise in fatalities.

“We are immensely relieved and encouraged by this decision,” said BWJP CEO Amy Sánchez. “Protection orders are a vital tool in safeguarding survivors of domestic violence. Upholding the restriction on firearm access for abusers ensures that these protective measures remain effective and that survivors are not placed at greater risk.”

Statistics have long demonstrated a chilling link between firearm access and domestic violence fatalities. Research shows the presence of a gun where domestic violence is perpetrated increases the risk of homicide by five times. BWJP believes that the SCOTUS ruling will help mitigate this alarming statistic, making it more difficult for abusers to inflict lethal harm by prohibiting their access to guns.

Survivor advocates also highlight the broader societal benefits of the decision. “This ruling sends a powerful message,” stated Jennifer Becker, Director of the National Center on Gun Violence in Relationships at BWJP. “Today’s ruling affirms that the lives and safety of survivors are paramount and that their protection takes precedence over the abuser’s ability to access firearms. We urge lawmakers to continue strengthening protections for domestic violence survivors.”

The decision has garnered widespread support from legislators and advocacy groups. “We cannot relax our efforts; we must remain vigilant in protecting the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Christina Jones, Chief Executive of External Relations at BWJP. “Thirty years ago, Congress enacted legislation to ensure that individuals with a history of domestic violence cannot access firearms, and today, that commitment has been upheld.”

Domestic violence is not confined to the four walls of a home; it impacts the entire community. Over half of all mass shootings are related to domestic violence. We must support laws that protect survivors, communities, and first responders when addressing domestic violence incidents.

As the nation celebrates this pivotal SCOTUS ruling, domestic violence prevention organizations are redoubling their efforts to support survivors. The BWJP and other advocacy groups are calling for increased funding for shelters, legal aid, and counseling services to help protect those at risk. Reach out to BWJP if you need resources and assistance. Get involved in your local politics. Contact your local officials to support lifesaving legislation that helps keep survivors safe and support your local domestic violence shelter and volunteer.

In the wake of the Rahimi decision, the safety of countless domestic violence survivors is reinforced. As legal and political battles continue, we at BWJP remain resolute in our mission to safeguard the lives of those vulnerable to abuse. “We will continue to fight for the rights and safety of survivors,” said Sánchez. “Their lives depend on it.”

About BWJP

BWJP is the national non-profit leader at the intersection of gender-based violence (GBV) and the law. BWJP is organized as a dynamic collection of national policy and practice centers which provide support, education, best practice, and innovation to advocates, systems professionals, community leaders, and policy experts. BWJP works with jurisdictions across the country to improve access to systems while paying attention to not causing further harm and injustice to historically marginalized communities. BWJP will continue this critical work to inform and keep survivors safe while supporting thriving families and communities. Find out more about BWJP at


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