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Appeals court ruling on domestic violence gun law draws concerns

Ruling on domestic violence gun law draws concerns
Ruling on domestic violence gun law draws concerns 02:35

SACRAMENTO — There's been a fundamental shift in the approach to domestic violence cases after a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it's now legal for domestic abusers to own a gun.

To be clear, the court's decision only applies to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. It does not impact the laws on the books in California, but there is fear the fallout doesn't stop with those three states.

Groups that help advocate for domestic violence survivors fear that the ruling set a precedent. They say it isn't just dangerous but is a deadly combination.

"I am very deeply, deeply concerned about a ruling like this," said. Allison Kephart, the chief legal and compliance officer with WEAVE Sacramento.

The ruling allows those with restraining orders to have a gun.

"There is a strong correlation between having access to a firearm by those who do harm and the increased likelihood of severe injury or lethality for those who are victims of domestic violence," Kephart said.

According to the Giffords Center For Gun Violence, domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be killed when their abuser has access to a gun.

It's a stat Kephart fears will now grow.

"At the end of the day, we'll put survivors in jeopardy and we are guaranteeing that more people will die," she said.

The appeals court found the federal gun control law could not stand under the Bruen test, which requires gun laws to be comparative to the regulations in place at the time of the constitution's framing in the late 1780s.

While the decision does not impact California law, which prevents those with domestic violence restraining orders from having guns and ammo, Gov. Gavin Newsom is gearing up for a fight, saying in a statement: "Wake up, America — this assault on our safety will only accelerate. This is serious — and it's coming to California."

The Justice Department plans to appeal the ruling. The department could ask the appeals court for a special procedure that allows the full court to hear the case, or they could take their fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, remember, help is available. You can call the domestic violence hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.


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