Historically-Stupid Opinion in Bruen Case Endangers Vulnerable to Gun Violence & Ajay Kaul Bowel Sounds Podcast

E Tobin-Tyler. NEJM 2023; 388: 1345-1347. Courts’ Disregard for Women’s Health and Safety — Intimate Partner Violence, Firearms, and “History and Tradition”

A few excerpts:

In June 2022, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which left the door open for constitutional challenges to virtually any state or federal firearm restriction.  One of these restrictions is a federal law passed in 1994 as part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that makes it unlawful for people subject to certain domestic violence–related restraining orders to possess a firearm or ammunition for the duration of the order.

Writing for the majority in Bruen, Justice Clarence Thomas struck down New York’s restrictions on who may carry a firearm in public. In doing so, he declared that a government arguing in support of a restriction on firearm possession has the burden of showing that its regulation “is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”..

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen, a federal district judge on November 10, 2022, held in United States v. Perez-Gallan that the VAWA’s restriction on firearm possession by people subject to restraining orders is unconstitutional…

Searching for relevant laws from the 18th and 19th centuries to justify current laws protecting people who have experienced IPV (intimate partner violence) obscures the fact that married women weren’t even considered legal subjects until the late 19th century. Instead, they were understood to be the property of their husbands.1 Black women who were enslaved, married or not, had no legal rights. “Wife beating” did not become illegal in some states until the late 19th century…

In Rahimi, the court applied Bruen’s “history and tradition” analysis to a case involving a person who not only was subject to a restraining order because he had allegedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend, but also had been involved in incidents in which he had fired a gun at people and at a constable’s car…The court determined that under Bruen’s analysis, there is no reason to consider the potential consequences for people experiencing IPV of permitting their abusers to possess guns. 

My take: Deciding gun ownership laws solely on the basis of ‘history and tradition’ is incredibly stupid. Research shows that restriction of access to firearms by domestic abusers results in lower rates of gun deaths. This supreme court will allow anyone to possess a firearm, except those in their vicinity.

Related article: The Hill (5/11/23): Federal judge rules adults ages 18-20 cannot be blocked from purchasing handguns. “A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that federal laws prohibiting 18-to-20-year-olds from getting handguns at federally licensed firearms dealers are unconstitutional…The judge concluded that the Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” applies to people in that age group. “Because the statutes and regulations in question are not consistent with our Nation’s history and tradition, they, therefore, cannot stand,” Payne wrote. 

Related blog posts:

Also, I want to give a shout out to Ajay Kaul (who completed his training in Cincy one year after I did) and his recent Bowel Sounds Podcast. Ajay is a terrific person. This was a good review on Achalasia and a reminder of the improvements in motility testing. A good clinical pearl was to ask anesthesiology to intubate patients with suspected achalasia to protect their airway.

Listen now! Link to podcast: Ajay Kaul – Esophageal Achalasia in Children

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