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Appeals court strikes down gun ban for people with domestic violence restraining orders

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An appeals court panel on Thursday struck down a federal law banning people who have domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms.

The Fifth Circuit three-judge panel, all nominated by Republican presidents, ruled the law was no longer constitutional under the Supreme Court’s landmark expansion of Second Amendment rights last summer.

The Supreme Court justices in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen last summer ruled that firearm regulations must be consistent with the nation’s historical tradition, and lower courts could no longer weigh the societal benefits of the policies.

That shift proved fatal for the law, which was upheld previously and prohibited those under domestic violence court orders from possessing firearms.

Zackey Rahimi, who previously pled guilty to charges under the provision, appealed his conviction after the high court’s decision.

“Through that lens, we conclude that § 922(g)(8)’s ban on possession of firearms is an ‘outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted.’ Therefore, the statute is unconstitutional, and Rahimi’s conviction under that statute must be vacated,” Judge Cory Wilson, a Trump nominee, wrote.

Wilson and the other two judges, appointed by Trump and Reagan, pushed back on the Justice Department’s array of examples attempting to show a historical analogue for the law.

The panel also rejected arguments that Rahimi was not entitled to Second Amendment protections because he was not responsible nor law-abiding.

The challenge arose after Rahimi was found in possession of firearms while under a restraining order for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

“Rahimi, while hardly a model citizen, is nonetheless part of the political community entitled to the Second Amendment’s guarantees, all other things equal,” Wilson wrote.

The ruling marks one of the first major circuit court decisions after the Bruen ruling, which has shifted the landscape for legal battles over firearms.

Gun control and gun rights advocates are battling in the courts over new laws that ban firearms so-called sensitive locations, pose restrictions for obtaining permits and increase liability for gun manufacturers.

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