The Supreme Court’s new term formally begins today, and perhaps the biggest case under the high court’s consideration focuses on the limits of the Second Amendment. As The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia and Will Van Sant reported earlier this year, the case is focused on a federal ban on gun possession by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders. It’s widely seen as a test of the scope of the court’s 2022 Bruen decision, in particular the history-and-tradition framework it imposed for deciding Second Amendment cases: In order for a gun regulation to be constitutional, the Supreme Court ruled, it must have a well-established analog in 18th- and 19th-century American law.
The case before the court, United States v. Rahimi, concerns an Arlington, Texas, man who was a suspect in several shootings when police found guns in his home and discovered he was under a civil protective order for the alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend. The order expressly prohibited him from having firearms, and he was indicted for violating the federal domestic violence gun ban. In February, a panel of the conservative Fifth Circuit vacated Rahimi’s conviction, noting that domestic violence wasn’t recognized as a crime before the 20th century, and in doing so voided part of a nearly three-decades-old landmark policy.
The Supreme Court’s decision will have sweeping consequences regardless of the side it rules in favor of, Duke law professor Joseph Blocher told The New York Times. “Courts have really struggled to find meaningful historical guidance about the constitutionality of modern gun laws like those regulating high-capacity magazines or guns on the subway,” he said. “Rahimi gives the justices a chance to clarify that analogizing from history isn’t a recipe for anachronism.”
What to Know Today
A Connecticut law that bans most open carry of firearms in public, limits handgun purchases to three per person per month, and requires guns to be sold with trigger locks, among other measures, went into effect over the weekend. It’s the most wide-ranging gun safety law the state has passed since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. [Hartford Courant]
The New York Police Department and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice are more than a year past their deadline to produce a mandatory report on how illegal guns make their way into the city. City Council members say the delay is hindering their ability to make decisions on gun trafficking prevention measures. [Gothamist]
Windham Weaponry, an AR-15-style rifle manufacturer in Maine that was created by the founder of Bushmaster Firearms, is going out of business a little over a decade after it launched. The late founder, Richard Dyke, was a major behind-the-scenes figure in national politics as a donor and entrepreneur. [Associated Press]
The loss of the rapper Takeoff, a member of the popular group Migos who was shot and killed last year, prompted Quavo — Takeoff’s uncle, bandmate, and best friend — to launch the Rocket Foundation, a project that supports gun violence prevention programs and honors the life of his nephew. Quavo recently spoke at a panel during the Congressional Black Caucus’ legislative conference, joining others who shared stories about how their lives had been affected by gun violence. [NPR]
At the most recent Republican presidential candidate debate, former Vice President Mike Pence suggested that the threat of an expedited death penalty would deter people from carrying out mass shootings. But data on mass shootings shows that many perpetrators die by suicide or are killed by police during attacks. [The Guardian]
Eugene Stoner had no formal training in firearms design when, inside a California garage during the beginning of the Cold War, he came up with the idea for a rifle that he envisioned would help the U.S. military protect the country he loved. He didn’t know that his invention, the AR-15, would change American history. [The Atlantic]
The Chicago City Council confirmed Mayor Brandon Johnson’s pick for police superintendent, Larry Snelling, a man hailed as a “son of Englewood” and the antithesis of his unpopular predecessor. Now in the hot seat, Snelling faces a city demanding solutions to an alarming surge in armed robberies. [Chicago Sun-Times/Block Club Chicago]
The Real Significance of the Supreme Court’s Gun Decision: The high court prescribed a new constitutional test that experts said would cause a wave of challenges to gun regulations, some of which have already begun. (July 2022)