Governor Newsom to U.S. Supreme Court: Uphold Laws to Prohibit Domestic Abusers From Accessing Guns

WASHINGTON D.C. – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced he filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in defense of a federal law that prohibits individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. The case, United States v. Rahimi, is being heard by the Supreme Court following the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’s decision ruling this lifesaving federal “red flag” law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The Governor’s brief argues that the lower court incorrectly interpreted the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision last year and that the federal government’s ability to enact gun regulations to protect families from dangerous individuals is supported by a longstanding historical tradition.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “It’s simple: Domestic abusers shouldn’t have guns, and America’s gun safety laws are supported by the Constitution and longstanding historical tradition. The Second Amendment is not a suicide pact. The Supreme Court must reverse the lower court’s decision.”

California has its own red flag laws that allow victims of domestic violence to seek protective orders to prohibit their abuser from possessing a gun. Across the nation, 45 states have similar laws enacted that limit the ability of those under a domestic violence restraining order from accessing firearms – saving lives and protecting victims from potential violence.

The Governor’s amicus brief defends the federal government’s ability to enact commonsense gun safety laws, and builds on California’s longstanding efforts to reduce gun violence, protect victims and survivors, and save lives. Recently, the Governor introduced a proposal to end the gun violence crisis through a historic amendment to the U.S. Constitution, signed a package of gun safety laws making it easier for Californians to sue manufacturers of illegal assault weapons and those bringing them into our communities, allowing lawsuits against irresponsible gun industry members, strengthening prohibitions on ghost guns, and restricting marketing to minors. The Governor also launched an 18-month campaign to promote gun violence restraining orders. A study from the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis found that California’s red flag law has been used to stop 58 threatened mass shootings since 2016.

California’s gun safety laws work. In 2021, California was ranked as the #1 state for gun safety by the Giffords Law Center, and the state saw a 43% lower gun death rate than the national average. According to the CDC, California’s gun death rate was the 44th lowest in the nation, with 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people – compared to 13.7 deaths per 100,000 nationally, 28.6 in Mississippi, 20.7 in Oklahoma, and 14.2 in Texas.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.