When my mom turned 70, I made a special wish for her birthday. Instead of parties and cakes, she told her family that she needed our help to open a transitional home for domestic violence victims and their children.
She considered the birthday present the culmination of a lifetime spent fighting for abuse survivors. The battle began in the 1970s, when terms like “battered woman” were commonplace and survivors had little recourse. A few months after her mother’s birthday, the Kathleen Mary House, named after her mother Kathleen Mary, a victim of domestic violence, opened.
My mother gave me the name Kathleen Mary when I was born. Her lifelong work for survivors had a great impact on me. The effects of domestic violence are not confined to one generation, nor should our vigilance against it. That’s one of the reasons we’re so concerned about the outcome of the upcoming Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Rahimi, which will decide next year whether to uphold gun safety laws that protect victims of domestic violence. .
The Supreme Court recently announced plans to take up the Rahimi case, but that will likely depend on the court’s recent Second Amendment ruling, New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bullen. In the case, a majority led by Justice Clarence Thomas overturned New York City’s Concealed Carry Act, which had been enacted for more than a century, and 21st-century gun control meant that muskets were the common firearm. argued that it should correspond to the earlier period of In doing so, the court stripped me of an important tool I had as governor to keep New Yorkers safe. If this decision were left unchecked, more lethal firearms would spill over into our communities, businesses, bars and restaurants, and even our crowded subway cars. A single slip of the tongue or a sharp elbow can quickly have devastating, life-threatening consequences.
Now in Rahimi, the Supreme Court is due to decide whether the homes of domestic violence victims could be flooded with lethal firearms. The case will come to court after the 5th Circuit Court ruled in favor of the abuser. The Fifth Circuit has ruled that the government cannot stop an abuser for whom the court has issued a domestic violence protection order from possessing a lethal firearm. By overturning a federal law designed to protect victims of abuse, an appeals court has launched an outrageous legal theory that claims individuals with domestic violence orders have a constitutional right to own a gun. . If Judge Thomas uses Bruen’s history-focused argument as a precedent, the Supreme Court could rule that today’s domestic violence victims deserve only the protection they had in the 18th century. At that time, most women could not own property or work outside the home, let alone vote.
No more stakes. About 41 percent of women and 26 percent of men in the United States have experienced intimate partner sexual, physical, or stalking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. It is reported to be affected during the period. their lifetime. About one in five homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner, and more than half of female homicide victims are killed by a current or former male intimate partner, according to U.S. crime reports. Here in New York, about 80,000 assaults, sex crimes, protection order violations and other serious crimes occur statewide each year, and data shows that about one in five murders in New York is domestic violence. said to be related.
The Supreme Court has options. Either lean on the Fifth Circuit’s dangerous theory that guns cannot be regulated to protect victims of domestic violence, or support federal laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. is.
Until oral arguments are heard, there is no way of knowing which decision the Supreme Court will make. The precedent set by Bruen is very troubling. But even within Bruen’s court majority there was a split. Justice Thomas continued to focus on the historical debate. But Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s assent, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, noted that “correctly construed, the Second Amendment allows for ‘variety’ of gun controls,” noting that certain fundamental left room for more protection.
The agreement helped inform New York’s response to Bruen. After 100 years of gun control were overturned in New York State, I took immediate steps to restore protections from gun violence, including signing new laws to strengthen training and gun licensing requirements. I was. In the spring of 2022, we will strengthen our state’s red flag laws, take guns away from people who pose a danger to themselves and others, including domestic abusers, and close the loopholes that made the Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas tragedies possible. I got it. As a result, courts issued nearly 9,000 extremely dangerous protection orders in the past year, up from 1,400 over the past two-and-a-half years. Depending on the extent of the court’s ruling in Rahimi, these protections could also be jeopardized. After a brief spike at the start of the pandemic in 2020, New York is slowly and steadily returning to pre-pandemic shooting levels, with one of the top five lowest firearm-related death rates. As Governor, I have always said public safety is my number one priority, and I am committed to using every tool available to protect our communities from gun violence.
Gun safety laws are in jeopardy in Bruen due to an extreme and out-of-control Supreme Court. Across America, victims of domestic violence will now wait in fear to see if Judge Kavanaugh and his colleagues deem the laws protecting victims to be “properly construed” under the Constitution. Become.
I can only imagine what my late mother would say about these judicial attacks against abuse survivors. But to her credit, and on behalf of all New Yorkers, I will never stop fighting for justice.