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NNEDV Statement Regarding United States v. Rahimi

February 3, 2023

A statement from Deborah J. Vagins, President & CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV):

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) condemns the ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in United States v. Rahimi, which struck down 30 years of federal law prohibiting those under a protective order for domestic violence from possessing firearms. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel ruled a domestic violence abuser subject to a protective order has a constitutional right to possess a firearm.

Domestic violence and firearms are a lethal combination. Nationwide, an average of three women are killed by a current or former partner every day; when a male abuser has access to a firearm, the risk that he will choose to shoot and kill a female partner increases by 1,000%.

Prior to this decision, federal law prohibited convicted abusers and those who are under protective orders of domestic violence from possessing firearms. While the 5th Circuit left in place the federal ban on firearms for convicted abusers, it ultimately ruled the prohibition on possession of a firearm in civil restraining order cases was unconstitutional. Thus, the court struck the federal law that prohibits guns from abusers under domestic violence protective orders. Protections still exist in other jurisdictions.

Not only does this decision fly in the face of common-sense gun regulations, it is devoid of the lived experiences and understanding of survivors’ reality. While some survivors may not wish to or be able to seek a conviction, an order of protection can be another tool for increasing survivor safety. Yesterday’s decision reveals an utter disregard for survivors’ safety and will unnecessarily put thousands of victims in grave danger.

Ending gun violence is critical to ending domestic violence. NNEDV has supported legislation to ensure dangerous abusers and others intent on harm cannot access firearms. We are committed to working with our membership of the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence and other anti-violence organizations to educate policymakers, the public, and the media about the connection between firearms and domestic violence homicides, and to continue to urge more progress on common-sense gun laws to make our nation safer for all of us.


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 with a mission 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.