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Durbin Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in United States v. Rahimi

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today in United States v. Rahimi, which ruled that when an individual has been found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another, that individual may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment:

“Today, the Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment is not limitless and rejected a meritless challenge to an essential gun safety law. In doing so, they are protecting the lives of women and families across the nation. Unfortunately, Justice Thomas, the lone dissenter in the case, continues to isolate himself from a commonsense view of the limits of the Second Amendment.

“But let’s be clear: the only reason this case was before the Court is that two years ago a conservative supermajority of judicial activists established a radical new standard that makes it much easier for the gun lobby to challenge longstanding gun safety laws. The Court should overturn its misguided Bruen decision as soon as possible.”

In March 2023, Durbin chaired a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Protecting Public Safety After New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.” The hearing focused on the impact of the radical new standard for the constitutionality of modern-day gun safety laws set by the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen in 2022. With that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutionality of modern-day gun safety laws depends on whether the government can demonstrate that there were sufficiently similar historical gun laws in place at the time of the adoption of the Second Amendment in 1791 or the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. This 2022 ruling opened the door to the Fifth Circuit’s overturning of its original ruling in United States v. Rahimi, thus allowing those with domestic violence protective orders to still possess firearms. 

In August 2023, Durbin joined nearly 170 members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in opposition to the constitutional challenge. In the bicameral brief, Durbin and the members called on the Supreme Court to set a clear standard allowing Congress to pass laws that keep the American people safe.

Domestic and intimate partner violence is made all the more deadly when firearms are involved. The presence of a firearm in the home increases the likelihood that domestic violence escalates into a homicide by fivefold. When compared to domestic or intimate partner violence incidents that involve other weapons or bodily force, those involving firearms are 12 times more likely to result in death. In fact, firearms are used to commit more than half of all intimate partner homicides in the United States; approximately 600 women are shot to death by intimate partners each year.