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Domestic Violence Abusers Are Dangerous: Firearms Prohibitions Upheld By Supreme Court

June 21, 2024

Domestic Violence Groups Praise the Ruling as a Critical Safety Measure


Contact: NNEDV Communications Team (

Washington, DC – In a rare 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court decided US v. Rahimi today in favor of restricting access to firearms for domestic violence abusers. 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.” Civil protection orders are a critical piece of safety for many domestic violence survivors around the country. The federal firearms restrictions – and state laws modeled after them – that apply to respondents of protection orders save lives. Today, those laws and the protection they provide to survivors of domestic violence were upheld as constitutional. We are grateful for this continued, life-saving protection for survivors.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV), and the law firm Crowell & Moring worked together to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court focused on the stories of domestic violence victims and survivors. We urged the Court to recognize the specific dangers domestic violence abusers with access to guns pose to their victims and to our communities. We asked the Court to prioritize the safety of victims. The first-hand accounts from survivors and their loved ones demonstrate how abusive partners use guns to control, intimidate, terrorize, and often kill their victims, and how protective orders are important for survivor safety. This unique, survivor-centered amicus brief was supported by 60 gender-based violence organizations from nearly every state and U.S. territory.

In the brief, survivors shared distressing accounts of how abusive partners used guns to further their abuse, including implicit and explicit threats. Tragically, not every victim survived to tell their story. Just two harrowing stories of the use of guns in domestic violence include those of Connie* and Amy*:

During one of many domestic violence calls to Connie’s* house, her mother told the officers that her son-in-law had a gun and had threatened to kill her daughter. The police said there was nothing they could do. One night, when Connie went to pick up her 10-year-old daughter from her husband, he shot Connie seven times right in front of her daughter.

Amy* was seeking a permanent Civil Protection Order against an abuser. While she had a temporary protective order and was awaiting a court date for the civil protective order, the abuser shot and killed Amy in her home with her five young children nearby.

Firearms and domestic violence are a deadly mix. Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Kagan, in her US v. Rahimi concurrence highlighted alarming data: “A woman who lives in a house with a domestic abuser is five times more likely to be murdered if the abuser has access to a gun” and “over 70 people shot and killed by an intimate partner each month in the United States.” The Justices go on to highlight that the danger abusers pose extends far beyond their target victim: “Because domestic violence is rarely confined to the intimate partner that receives the protective order, the Government’s interest extends even further. In roughly a quarter of cases where an abuser killed an intimate partner, the abuser also killed someone else, such as a child, family member, or roommate.”

Although civil protection orders prohibiting abusers from possessing a firearm are not perfect, they are still important protections for victims of domestic violence. We know that more must be done to enforce these life-saving firearms prohibitions. We also understand that efforts to undermine survivor safety will continue. We, the domestic violence coalitions and survivor-serving organizations, will continue to be vigilant and stand firmly with survivors. We will not back down.

Firearm prohibitions for abusers make all of us safer. In the US v. Rahimi decision, the Supreme Court kept those protections in place. We need to continue to listen to and center the needs of survivors of domestic violence, and the family members of victims who didn’t survive, who have shared experiences of being terrorized or killed when firearms and domestic violence intersect.

If you or someone you know is facing danger from a domestic or family violence situation, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline if you’re located in the United States. You can reach them by phone (800-799-SAFE), TTY (1-800-787-3224), chat (, or text (START to 88788). You can also find your state or territorial coalition for additional support.

*Names are changed to protect the privacy of the victims and their family members.

Read this morning’s Rahimi press release here.


The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) represents the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence. NNEDV is a social change organization working to create a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority, change the way society responds to domestic violence, and strengthen domestic violence advocacy at every level.