Supreme Court Set to Hear United States v. Rahimi Case: Domestic Violence Protection Orders Under Scrutiny 


Nov 2, 2023, ST. PAUL, M.N. – On November 7, 2023, the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the landmark case of United States v. Rahimi.  

The case revolves around a critical issue for domestic violence survivors: the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), a federal law that prohibits individuals subject to disqualifying domestic violence protection orders from possessing firearms.  

The Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP), through two of its national centers, the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit and the National Center on Gun Violence in Relationships, have been a leader in developing a national response to this case, including an amicus brief filed by the gender-based violence field. As experts on the intersection of domestic violence and gun violence, BWJP convenes and keeps informed a national coalition of firearms experts and gender-based violence experts.  

The significance of this case lies in its potential to shape the legal landscape surrounding domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs) and their authority to reduce access to firearms in dangerous cases.  

Key Concerns: 

  1. The 5th Circuit did not understand that Rahimi’s behavior was sufficiently “dangerous,” and failed to recognize the importance of DVPOs for survivor safety.   
  1. The reasoning of the 5th Circuit undermined the legal process surrounding DVPOs, an essential tool for survivors and, for many, the only viable justice system option to achieve safety. 
  1. This case is a harrowing demonstration  that domestic violence is a strong indicator of community violence. If dangerous individuals are allowed to retain access to firearms in these cases, no one is safe. 

The outcome of United States v. Rahimi has the potential to affect the efficacy of protection orders and may have a profound negative impact on the safety of domestic violence survivors and the prevention of gun violence. 

"The American legal system has a long history of disarming people who are a danger to their community. This case gives us a prime example why--Zackey Rahimi proved he was as dangerous as was feared. Everyone is safer when abusers don't have access to firearms." -- Amy J. Sánchez, CEO of BWJP 

"We strongly believe the Fifth Circuit's decision in U.S. v. Rahimi was wrongly decided. The decision shows that the court fundamentally misunderstood how protection orders operate and the reality of the dangerousness indicated by domestic violence." --Jennifer Becker, Director, National Center on Gun Violence in Relationships, BWJP and Monica Player, Director, National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit, BWJP 

The Supreme Court's ruling in this case will be eagerly awaited by legal experts, advocacy organizations, and individuals concerned with the safety of domestic violence survivors and communities. 

Our team of experts are available for interviews on the issues of this case. 

For media inquiries and requests please contact Senior Communications Manager Victoria Taylor at or  

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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. We work with jurisdictions across the country to improve access to systems while paying attention to not causing further harm and injustice to historically marginalized communities.  

TAGS: #BWJP Announcements #Firearms #Gender Based Violence #News #Protection Orders #Women

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