Postscript invites scholars to react to contemporary political events and today’s podcast welcomes an expert on domestic violence and firearms law to analyze a controversial Second Amendment case that the United States Supreme Court will hear this Fall, United States v. Rahimi. Kelly Roskam, JD is the Director of Law and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy. She studies the constitutional implications of, advocates for, and works to improve the implementation of firearms laws. She has been writing about the practical implications of the Rahimi case since it came up through the 5th circuit (for example, “The Fifth Circuit’s Rahimi decision protects abusers’ access to guns. The Supreme Court must act to protect survivors of domestic violence” and “A Texas Judge Is Using Originalism to Justify Arming Domestic Abusers” (co-authored with Spencer Cantrell and Natalie Nanasi).
In the podcast, we discuss the specifics of this strange case (a man who assaulted a woman, shot in the air, and later threatened to kill her claims that his constitutional rights have been violated – and the 5th circuit agrees that Congress is the threat to liberty). Ms. Roskam explains how the legal regime Congress created in 1994 to protect survivors of intimate violence also protects the safety of the public at large. She presents some of the data (e.g., that the presence of a firearm increases the likelihood that domestic violence will escalate into a homicide). She explains what is at stake, the possible ways the Supreme Court might approach the case, and ways to combat firearm violence beyond the courts.
Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.