CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) and four other health professional organizations filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the U.S. Supreme Court asserting that upholding firearm prohibitions on domestic violence abusers who are the subject of restraining orders is a necessary and constitutional protection that saves the lives of family members and others.

The case of United States v. Rahimi does not focus on law-abiding firearm owners but applies to a dangerous subset of non-law abiding and highly irresponsible citizens who are subject to a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) based on a judicial finding after notice and an opportunity to be heard.

The AMA-led brief contends that a law prohibiting domestic violence abusers from possessing firearms is constitutionally permissible and must be upheld. The brief shares physicians’ strong conviction, informed by their health care work and research, that barring domestic violence abusers from access to firearms when the requirements of law are satisfied is critical to save lives.

“It is beyond question that when domestic abusers have access to firearms, they are significantly more likely to kill not just the person they are abusing but also children, other family members, bystanders and first-responders,” according to the brief.

The brief conveys physicians’ firsthand knowledge of the deadly consequences of allowing domestic abusers access to firearms and summarizes a vast body of evidence showing that more than one in four homicides are related to domestic violence and the majority are committed with firearms. An abusive partner with access to a firearm is five times more likely to kill his victim, and there are often multiple victims, including coworkers, friends, the victim’s new dating partners, strangers, police officers, and the victim’s children or family.

The AMA supports commonsense measures to reducing the toll of firearm deaths and injuries in the U.S, and a perfect place to prevent firearm violence is to uphold laws that keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.

The four other health professional organizations joining the AMA on the brief are the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons, American Public Health Association, and Texas Medical Association.

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The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.