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URI Praises Supreme Court Decision Limiting Firearms for Those with Domestic Violence Protection Orders

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld the federal government’s authority to prohibit people who are subject to domestic violence orders of protection from possessing or acquiring a firearm in United States v. Rahimi. 

URI released the following statement in response: 

(New York – June 21, 2024) As the nation’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter services, Urban Resource Institute (URI) applauds the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Rahimi, upholding the federal government’s right to limit firearms access to dangerous individuals who are subject to a domestic violence order of protection.

Domestic violence homicides have continued to increase precipitously here in New York and across the country. As our agency works tirelessly to end the cycles that fuel violence by investing in violence prevention, intervention and support, we are relieved that SCOTUS agreed that more guns make survivors less safe.

So many of our survivors have been impacted by gun violence. Last year, a 16-year old girl – let’s call her Kayla – found safety in URI’s transitional housing after she was shot in the leg by her partner, who we’ll call Carl. As in so many cases, the abuse began slowly, first with angry outbursts and fits. It escalated when Kayla tried to end her relationship. Carl began stalking Kalya.

The abuse continued to escalate, even after Carl got a new girlfriend. Carl forced his new girlfriend to listen while he called Kayla to verbally abuse her over the phone. Then Carl and his new girlfriend beat Kayla up.

After the incident, Carl told Kayla, “That’s what happens when you refuse to stay with me.” Kayla immediately filed a police report and obtained an order of protection against Carl.

For months, Kayla did everything she could to stay away from Carl, including transferring schools. On June 30, 2023, Kayla met up with a friend. Carl was there, and he had a gun. He shot Kayla in the leg after a brief conversation and then tried to coerce her into lying about the shooting.

Kayla, a 16-year old girl who was shot by an abusive partner, was one of the lucky ones. Though the incident will leave physical and emotional scars, she lived while so many others do not.

Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner, and nearly 1 million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners.

Research shows that access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will die at the hands of a domestic abuser.

Team URI works to provide the survivors in our care with access to safe, stable and healing environments. While we are committed to the belief that all people are capable of change – including people who have caused harm – we stand firm in our belief that access to guns makes survivors – and our staff – significantly less safe.

Today, we are pleased that SCOTUS heard us and the thousands of survivors and victims services organizations from across the country and ensured that individuals who have demonstrated violence in the past cannot easily access firearms.