Zackey Rahimi, the Texas man at the center of a forthcoming Supreme Court case over domestic abusers’ right to own guns, once shot at a woman in a parking lot, HuffPost reported Wednesday, citing police records the outlet obtained. Prior to this report, we knew Rahimi had pleaded guilty in 2021 to possessing guns in violation of a protective order for domestic violence against him intended to shield his ex-girlfriend, with whom he shares a child. Rahimi also faces criminal charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against multiple people, among other charges; he is currently in jail.
This November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in U.S. v. Rahimi on the constitutionality of laws that prohibit people who are subject to domestic violence restraining orders from owning guns. The case comes after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Rahimi’s conviction for owning guns despite his ex’s restraining order, on the heels of a 2022 Supreme Court ruling that significantly limited the scope of modern gun safety regulations. The opinion in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, stated “the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, 70 women on average are shot and killed every month by an intimate partner. Abusive partners who can access firearms are five times more likely to kill their victims.
The unnamed woman whom Rahimi shot at in a parking lot in 2020 told police that she went to meet Rahimi after he sent her a Snapchat message instructing her to do so, HuffPost reported. The nature of their relationship isn’t clear, though the woman characterized Rahimi as a “friend” to police. Per the police report, when she reached the lot, she saw Rahimi dressed in all black and wearing a face mask. When he took out a gun, she got back in her car and drove away. Rahimi shot at the car “multiple times” and hit it, per the report. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
In court documents for U.S. v. Rahimi, federal prosecutors cite the incident only in vague terms, not specifying that Rahimi actually shot at the woman and merely writing that he “threatened another woman with a gun.”
This newly reported incident involving Rahimi comes on top of his alleged acts of violence against his ex that we already know of. His alarming rap sheet also includes arrests for shooting at someone’s home with an assault rifle in response to social media posts, shooting at drivers, shooting his gun in front of kids, and shooting his gun when a fast food eatery declined his friend’s credit card.
“Rahimi is the poster child for why dangerous abusers should not be able to get their hands on a gun,” Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of the women-led gun safety group Moms Demand Action Now, told Jezebel. “It’s up to the Supreme Court to decide whether they will side with the extremists on the 5th Circuit or with the majority of Americans who believe the lives of women mean more than the gun lobby’s agenda.”
The Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling in Bruen is certainly cause for concern as we await a ruling in Rahimi. Over the last year, HuffPost reports a surge in lower courts ruling against long-held gun safety restrictions in compliance with the Bruen decision. Bruen conspicuously came around the same time the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Just months ago, a Texas man was charged with shooting and killing his partner, reportedly for having an abortion, after prior alleged acts of domestic violence against her.
Last month, 60 domestic and intimate partner violence survivor advocacy organizations filed an amicus brief related to Rahimi detailing harrowing testimony from survivors whose abusers owned firearms, including one woman whose partner hid guns all over their house. She said he “frequently” held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her if she ever left him.
The brief, filed at the Supreme Court, also includes the stories of women who were killed by abusive partners, sometimes in front of their children, sometimes while restraining orders against their abusers were still pending. These stories “illustrate that nothing less is at stake than lives,” the brief says.