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Gun control groups hail Supreme Court decision upholding gun ban for domestic abusers

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(WASHINGTON) — Gun control advocates and domestic abuse victims’ rights groups on Friday praised a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding a federal ban on people under domestic violence restraining orders from owning guns.

The 8-1 decision in U.S. v. Rahimi, which ruled that federal and state laws that prevent domestic abusers from temporarily owning a firearm do not violate the Second Amendment, came after several decisions by the conservative-leaning court in the last two years that have scaled back gun control laws.

Janet Carter, senior director of issues and appeals at the gun control non-profit Everytown Law, said in a statement that the ruling was a step in the right direction but more work needs to be done to prevent gun violence.

“Our country has stood at a tipping point, with the safety of survivors of domestic violence on the line. But today, we took a step toward protecting millions from their abusers,” she said in a statement.

La’Shea Cretain, an Everytown volunteer, told ABC News she knows the decision will go a long way after she survived a violent encounter with her ex-boyfriend, a case profiled by ABC News.

The five bullets that put Cretain in a coma are still inside her body.

“It’s going to affect so many children from witnessing their mothers, fathers, grandparents or friends or anyone, experiencing gun violence, at the hands of abusers,” Cretain told ABC News.

Certain added that the court showed that they listened to survivors’ experiences.

“They listened to us. Because it’s not a day, a minute, our second, but we don’t think about it. We don’t feel the pain. But we have to continue to go on in spite of it all,” she said.

Former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting in 2011 and now heads the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, echoed that statement.

Her organization noted that women in the United States are 21 times more likely to die from a firearm than women in other high-income countries.

“This is a win for women, children, and anyone who has experienced domestic abuse. Women should be able to live their lives free from the fear of gun violence,” Giffords said in a statement.

Although gun control advocates contend the decision could pave the way for similar laws and firearms restrictions against dangerous individuals, one of the nation’s most prominent gun rights groups argued that the Supreme Court’s decision is narrow.

Randy Kozuch, executive director of the National Rifle Association, said in a post on X Friday, that the decision “holds only that an individual who poses a clear threat of violence may be temporarily disarmed after a judicial finding of dangerousness.” The NRA has been vocal against red flag laws passed in several states which allow people or law enforcement the right to petition a court to have a person’s firearms removed if they pose a threat to others or themselves.

“The Supreme Court’s narrow opinion offers no endorsement of red flag laws or of the dozens of other unconstitutional laws that the NRA is challenging across the country that burden the right of peaceable Americans to keep and bear arms,” Kozuch said.

Kelly Roskam, director of law and policy at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, said in a statement that research has shown that armed domestic abusers are not just a threat to their significant other but to the general public.

“It also shows that laws prohibiting these individuals from having firearms are effective at reducing intimate partner homicide. It is imperative that we be able to continue to do so,” she said in a statement.

President Joe Biden, a staunch gun control advocate, vowed to continue to advocate for laws and policies that prevent arming domestic violence suspects.

Biden noted that Congress and his office have pushed forward policies to prevent shootings in domestic violence cases citing the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which he helped pass during his time in the U.S. Senate, and the recent Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that narrowed the so-called “boyfriend loophole” so that dating partners convicted of domestic violence cannot buy a firearm.

“No one who has been abused should have to worry about their abuser getting a gun. As a result of today’s ruling, survivors of domestic violence and their families will still be able to count on critical protections, just as they have for the past three decades,” he said in a statement.

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.

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