POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Supreme Court upholds gun law intended to protect domestic violence victims

Jun 21, 2024, 6:31 PM | Updated: 6:49 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victims of domestic violence. The law prevents people with a domestic violence restraining order from having a gun and helped Utah victim advocates breathe a sigh of relief.

The Court reversed a ruling from the Federal Appeals Court in New Orleans that had struck down the law.

The case started when a Texas man was accused of hitting his girlfriend during an argument in a parking lot, and later threatened to shoot her. The man, later sentenced to prison, filed a lawsuit arguing the federal law stripped his gun rights and was a violation of the Second Amendment.

This is the High Court’s first Second Amendment case since they expanded gun rights in 2022, and why local advocates were surprised by Friday’s ruling.

“We are very relieved,” Jennifer Campbell, executive director of the Utah Violence Coalition, said.

She said it was a win she didn’t expect.

“Often in this work, I don’t think we get to take a lot of breaths and say this is something that we’re being seen, we’re being heard,” Campbell said. “And I hope that individuals impacted by violence feel seen and heard in this moment.”

When the Court ruled to uphold a federal gun ban on people with domestic violence protective orders, the justices prioritized victim safety over changing the interpretation of the Second Amendment.

It doesn’t change Utah law, which already lined up with the ban, but KSL legal analyst Greg Skordas said it’s likely to make some Utah gun owners upset.

“I believe some Utahns, including some members of the legislature, would say you can’t just take someone’s Second Amendment rights away,” Skordas said. “But the Supreme Court of the United States today said yes you can.”

Skordas said the law is limited to cases of domestic violence protective orders, but victim advocates hope it’s not the only legal step given to protect victims going forward.

According to a 2020 report looking at Utah Intimate Partner and Domestic Violence Fatalities, domestic violence deaths made up more than 22% of all Utah homicides. Victim advocates believe it’s hard to say how many times guns were used in those deaths.

“One of the weaknesses we have is our data collection and looking at how guns are used,” Campbell said.

Friday’s ruling helps Utah keep the standard, but a standard that victims still hope can change in the future.

Prior to Friday, KSL had heard rumblings that some in the state legislature were thinking of tweaking gun laws for domestic violence cases. This ruling now makes them harder to change.


If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Sen. Bob Menendez, pictured leaving Manhattan federal court on July 16, will resign his seat effect...

Laura Dolan, Lauren Fox and Clare Foran, CNN

Bob Menendez will resign his US Senate seat effective August 20

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey will resign his seat effective August 20, according to a copy of his resignation letter obtained by CNN.

18 hours ago

A voter submits their ballot during primary election voting in Provo on June 25. Lt. Gov. Deidre He...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Lieutenant governor certifies results from Utah’s June primary elections

Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson certified the statewide June 25 primary election Monday.

22 hours ago

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a nationally televised address from the Oval Office of the White ...

Aamer Madhani

Biden will address the nation Wednesday on his decision to drop his 2024 Democratic reelection bid

President Joe Biden will address the nation from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening on his decision to drop his 2024 Democratic reelection bid.

23 hours ago

Kimberly Cheatle, Director, U.S. Secret Service, testifies during a House Committee on Oversight an...

Colleen Long

Secret Service director steps down after assassination attempt against ex-President Trump at rally

The director of the Secret Service is stepping down from her job following the assassination attempt against former President Donald Trump.

1 day ago

(Harris delegates)...

Ethan Cohen, Molly English, Matt Holt and Sydney Topf, CNN

Harris secures enough delegate endorsements to clinch Democratic nomination

Kamala Harris has the support of enough Democratic delegates to win the party’s nomination for president, according to CNN’s delegate estimate.

1 day ago

Utah's democratic delegates will meet this week to talk about how they will pick the party's next n...

Shelby Lofton

Utah democratic delegates announce endorsement for Harris as path to naming a nominee changes

All of the Utah democratic delegates present at a meeting Monday voted in favor of endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris. 

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Supreme Court upholds gun law intended to protect domestic violence victims