United States v. Rahimi will be the subject of another Second Amendment case that the Supreme Court will consider next term.
The choice to hear Rahimi’s case was made just one year after the Supreme Court rendered its landmark Bruen ruling. For supporters of the Second Amendment, that might be good news—or bad. In order to ensure that the ruling, in this case, advances Second Amendment rights, the Second Amendment Law Center is already hard at work putting together an amicus brief campaign.
A federal criminal investigation under section 922 of the United States Code was conducted in the Rahimi case. The law was overturned by a unanimous Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel, which ruled that:
Bruen forecloses any . . . analysis [of salutary policy goals] in favor of a historical analogical inquiry into the scope of the allowable burden on the Second Amendment right. Through that lens, we conclude that § 922(g)(8)’s ban on the possession of firearms is an “outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted.”
The government requested SCOTUS to consider the case after losing in the Court of Appeals. A 2A victory was overturned, but the case was approved for review by the SCOTUS. That alone is not a good indication.
Therefore, the Supreme Court will now reevaluate whether the prohibition on the possession of weapons by those who are the subject of restraining orders under 922(g)(8) is constitutional under Bruen’s history- and tradition-focused standard for Second Amendment concerns. The Court will likely have to rule during this process whether and when it is appropriate to forbid the possession of guns by a whole class of people without taking into account their unique circumstances.
Cannabis users, non-violent offenders, those under civil restraining orders, and those with certain misdemeanor offenses are among the other restricted types of people that this case may have an impact on.
It adopted an “originalist” strategy, requiring the government to demonstrate that there was a history and tradition of laws similar to the one being contested in order for the current legislation to be upheld.
In other words, the current test is meant to ascertain whether the Founding Fathers would have permitted legislation similar to the current one to be challenged in 1791. To help predisposed courts uphold gun prohibitions, governments who are trying to legitimize them have already modified the Bruen test. To stop the games the government is playing in other Second Amendment cases, some explanation would be beneficial.
The Rahimi case, however, might jeopardize Second Amendment rights. Advocates against gun ownership are hoping the Court will overturn the Fifth Circuit’s decision.
They think that because the justices are hesitant to restore the gun rights of someone like Mr. Rahimi, they may side with the justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Jackson in preserving the law. The main question is how they could accomplish that without compromising the Bruen analysis and weakening the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment Law Center’s initiatives can be seen as a response to this. The federal public defender’s office is in charge of defending Mr. Rahimi. That office lacks specialized knowledge in 2A litigation. Briefs from amicus curiae will be important.
The Court will most likely hear the case in late November or early December. The deadlines might be impacted by requests to extend the briefing schedule, though. The government’s opening brief and any amicus briefs in support will most likely be due in the middle or late of August in Rahimi. Rahimi would respond one month later, in September, and supporting amicus briefs would also be required. Gathering amicus participation and drafting amicus papers are already priorities for 2ALC.