· Section 922(g)(8) focuses on preventing individuals who have committed or threatened family violence from accessing firearms during the period they are under a protective order.
· Safeguarding survivors from firearm access during the duration of protective orders is paramount to their safety and the broader well-being of communities.
· The coalition comprises organizations like the Texas Advocacy Project and Legal Aid of Arkansas that have made it their mission to provide vital civil legal services and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence.
Springdale, Arkansas – Last week, Legal Aid of Arkansas joined Texas Advocacy Project and a coalition of dedicated non-profit organizations* across the nation in filing an amicus brief in US v. Rahimi to ensure the safety and protection of domestic violence survivors through appropriate firearm regulations.
Their brief, submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, comes in response to the Fifth Circuit's recent ruling that has potential life-threatening implications for survivors of domestic violence, their families, and the broader community.
The amici curiae, or "friends of the court," coalition comprises organizations that have made it their mission to provide vital civil legal services and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence.
Collectively, these organizations work tirelessly to increase access to justice, especially for underrepresented and underserved communities. Through direct representation of survivors and support for those representing them, the amicus seeks to create a world where every survivor can live free from abuse.
The amicus brief addresses the Fifth Circuit's ruling, which misapplied the precedent set by the Supreme Court's decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass'n, Inc. v. Bruen. Contrary to the Fifth Circuit's ruling, Section 922(g)(8) does not impose a broad prohibition on firearm possession or carry; rather, it focuses on preventing individuals who have committed or threatened family violence from accessing firearms during the period they are under a protective order.
The brief also underscores the evolution of domestic violence over the centuries, emphasizing how the nature of these cases has transformed from 1791 to the present day.
The amicus asserts that the Fifth Circuit's misconceptions about domestic violence protective orders led to an invalidation of Section 922(g)(8) based on outdated anecdotes and hypothetical concerns. As a direct consequence of this ruling, the safety of domestic partners, children, first responders, bystanders, and the public is jeopardized, placing them at risk of serious or even fatal harm.
The amici curiae firmly believe that safeguarding survivors from firearm access during the duration of protective orders is paramount to their safety and the broader well-being of communities.
“The link between domestic violence and firearms is striking” said Linsey Schmeidler, Domestic Justice Attorney at Legal Aid of Arkansas. “Studies have shown a firearm in the presence of a domestic incident increases the likelihood of a fatality by five times. Nearly every day Legal Aid attorneys from across the state are in court relentlessly advocating for the safety of our clients and our communities.”
By joining forces to submit this critical amicus brief, these organizations aim to correct the misinterpretation of the law and advocate for the continued protection of domestic violence survivors.
For a copy of the amicus brief, please click here.
*The Coalition is comprised of the following dedicated nonprofits across the country: Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., Bay Area Legal Aid, Central California Legal Services, Community Legal Aid SoCal, Eastside Legal Assistance Program, Georgia Legal Services Program, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Indiana Health Advocacy Coalition, Indiana Legal Services, Inc., Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Los Angeles Center of Law and Justice, Maryland Legal Aid, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, OneJustice, SAFE Alliance, Southwest Louisiana Legal Services Corporation, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc., Texas Advocacy Project, Texas Legal Services Center, University of Texas School of Law Domestic Violence Clinic, Virginia Poverty Law Center
Legal Aid is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that provides free legal services to low-income Arkansans with civil legal problems across 31 countries. To apply for assistance or for more information, call 870-972-9224 or visit www.arlegalaid.org.
870-972-9224 x 4302
About Texas Advocacy Project: Texas Advocacy Project’s mission is to end dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Texas. TAP empowers survivors through free legal and social services and access to the justice system, and advances prevention through public outreach and education. Our vision is that all Texans live free from abuse. In 2022, TAP provided legal services in 4,765 cases, serving 10,502 Texans. If you or someone you know needs help, call 800-374-HOPE or visit TexasAdvocacyProject.org.