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AG Nessel Joins Coalition Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Public Safety and Victims of Domestic Abuse

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s decision striking down a federal statute barring individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from accessing guns. 

Attorney General Nessel joined a coalition of 25 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the federal government in the Supreme Court case, United States v. Rahimi.

Federal law bars people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. The defendant in Rahimi – who was under a domestic violence restraining order issued by a state court in Texas for assaulting his girlfriend – challenged the statute on the grounds that it violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued an opinion earlier this year agreeing. Attorney General Nessel and the coalition are asking the Supreme Court to overrule the lower court and restore the federal law.

“Domestic violence and firearms are a deadly combination,” Nessel said. “Measures like this, and Michigan’s newly passed Extreme Risk Protection Orders, are practical and effective tools to combat this senseless epidemic. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision and help protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence.”

In addition to the federal law, nearly every state in the country has enacted a law limiting access to firearms for those subject to domestic violence restraining orders. AG Nessel and the attorneys general argue that the appeals court ruling puts at risk domestic violence victims who may be harmed or killed by their abusers. In addition, the ruling hamstrings both the federal government and states in their efforts to protect their residents’ safety. 

The coalition argues that statutes of this sort are both constitutional and lifesaving. Studies have shown that such measures reduce homicides of both intimate partners and law enforcement officers. An abuser is five times more likely to murder his or her intimate partner if a firearm is in the home. In the United States, 80% of these homicide victims are women. Pregnant women and women of color are disproportionately the targets of intimate partner violence.

The brief is Attorney General Nessel’s most recent action to address gun violence throughout Michigan and across the nation. Nessel, who first took office in 2019, has been an outspoken advocate for gun safety measures, including advocating for a federal restriction on handgun sales to individuals under the age of 21, increased accountability for manufacturers, efforts to remove ghost-guns from our streets, and banning firearms from the Capitol and other state facilities. Earlier this year, she testified before the Michigan Senate in support of gun safety legislation that expanded background checks, established safe storage guidelines, and created a process for Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

AG Nessel is joined in filing the brief by the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.


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