WEAVE Statement on United States v. Rahimi SCOTUS Oral Arguments
Violent people should not have access to firearms.
WEAVE strongly supports upholding existing provisions for firearm relinquishment when a victim is granted a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) or when a perpetrator is criminally convicted for abusing their partner.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, and other domestic violence related firearm prohibitions, place warranted restrictions on an individual with a demonstrated history of violence and the potential to harm or kill an intimate partner. DVROs, and the temporary emergency orders associated with them, are only granted after a victim submits a lengthy and complex legal request. This process requires victims to attend at least one hearing where their abuser may be present and includes a determination of facts by a judge.
Victims often request DVROs during highly volatile periods – immediately following a violent incident, as they are preparing to exit a violent relationship or shortly after leaving. This is a dangerous time for victims because the abuser’s power and control has been disrupted and it is often marked by escalated risk to the victim, their children, family and friends, and the wider community. A female victim is at a five times greater risk of being killed when their abusive male partner has access to a firearm and in nearly half (46%) of mass shootings with four or more victims, the perpetrator shot an intimate partner or family member. These risks are even greater for Black or African American women and Native women who also face additional barriers to accessing legal protections.
We know that weapon relinquishment due to a DVRO saves lives. This month, the California Department of Justice released the Data Report Domestic Violence Involving Firearms in California. Data from 1993 to 2019 shows a 63% reduction in per capita rates of domestic violence related calls for assistance involving firearms, a 61% reduction in domestic violence related gun homicides, a 67% reduction in female-victim gun homicide rates, and an 80% reduction in gun homicide rates for children ages 14 and under. These numbers increased at alarming rates during the pandemic when victims were isolated with abusers and access to DVROs and safety planning services was compromised.
Victims of domestic violence must have an assurance that when they take legal steps to protect themselves, like filing for a DVRO, their abuser will not continue to have access to firearms. This tool, and other related firearm prohibitions, prevents murders and keeps our communities safer.
Press Conference including Allison Kephart, WEAVE Chief Operations Officer: Ahead of Supreme Court Arguments, Attorney General Bonta Releases Report on Guns & Domestic Violence