CRPA Statement on U.S. v. Rahimi Decision

June 21, 2024

Today, the Supreme Court decided the Rahimi case, holding that the government can temporarily prohibit dangerous individuals from possessing firearms. As we expected, the Court’s ruling is very narrow. It did not decide whether the government can prohibit broad classes of people from possessing arms permanently, and it rejected the government’s argument that “irresponsible” people could be prohibited from possessing arms. The Court reaffirmed the Bruen methodology in allowing the government to disarm persons subject to restraining orders, but only while the order is in effect. Several California laws that create open-ended prohibitions are now vulnerable to challenge, as are policies limiting CCW access based on claimed “irresponsibility” or expired restraining orders.

The central issue in the case was identifying historical laws and traditions that are sufficiently analogous to a modern law that would allow that law to survive a Constitutional challenge. The Court reiterated the Bruen test used to make that determination and this clarification should rein in lower courts that have wrongly accepted any historical laws the government presents even when not sufficiently similar.

The ruling still leaves open many significant questions that we are hopeful the Court will address in several active cases, including bans on semiautomatic rifles and extreme limitations on public carry licenses. The Court could rule to accept those cases as early as Monday.

Chuck Michel, President and General Counsel