Supreme Court to decide whether accused domestic abusers can possess weapons


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Gun violence prevention advocates packed the Supreme Court Tuesday as justices heard a case that could upend a major gun control policy. This case challenges a federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns.

Among these defenders was Donna Berdych. She was there to pay tribute to her late daughter, who she says was shot to death by her attacker.

“I don’t want any family to have to go through what we went through,” Berdych said.

Tuesday’s case revolves around a Texas man who was convicted of firearms charges stemming from a restraining order issued after he beat and threatened his girlfriend. His lawyer, J. Matthew Wright, says this violates his Second Amendment rights.

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“These are extremely important actions that go against the fundamental right of an individual to keep a gun,” Wright said.

The issue was sparked by the Supreme Court’s ruling last year expanding gun rights by saying restrictions on firearms must fit the country’s historical traditions.

During Tuesday’s arguments, even some conservative justices expressed doubts about challenging gun control.

“The Legislature can make rulings to disarm people consistent with the Second Amendment on the basis of dangerousness,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett said.

The lawyers who spent the day outside the court hope that the court will hear their arguments. Camille Paradis, a survivor of the school shooting, said people’s lives are at stake.

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“The Supreme Court could open the doors to more victims, more violence, more bloodshed, which is terrifying,” Paradis said.

Moms Demand Action Executive Director Angela Ferrell-Zapala said victims of abuse already face a frightening reality.

“Any time an assailant has a firearm, the woman is five times more likely to be shot and killed,” Ferrell-Zappala said.

If the Supreme Court allows abusers to have access to firearms, she said, it will only exacerbate this threat.

“This is a death sentence for women and families across this country,” Ferrell-Zapala said.

A ruling in this case is expected by early summer.

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