Supreme Court

‘Best news': Advocates applaud SCOTUS domestic violence prevention ruling

“This ruling will save lives," domestic violence prevention advocates said, as an Illinois family mourns the death of Amy Burns Moore, a mother of three young boys, who was killed by her ex-husband last month.

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Domestic violence prevention advocates felt a sense of relief Friday after the Supreme Court upheld a federal law prohibiting people under domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms.

"I think I can speak for every survivor across the country that this was the best news that we have heard in a long time," said Rebecca Darr, president of WINGS Program Inc. "It tells survivors of domestic violence that they and their children really do matter."

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that since the United States was founded, "our Nation's firearm laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms."

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent.

That's a statistic the Burns family knows unfortunately all too well.

Amy Burns Moore was a mother to three young boys, a 2nd grade teacher and beloved sibling and daughter.

She was shot and killed by her ex-husband in her home last month, leaving her boys without parents and her family and friends with an unfillable void.

"They say time heals all wounds. I don't think it will in this case," her brother Scott Burns told NBC Chicago. "My sister was an amazing person ... a great mother and a good sister to me and my brother. She was well known as someone who was fun and reliable and a good friend."

Her family said she had multiple orders of protection against her ex-husband, including the most recent: a 30-month order of protection prohibiting contact except for a weekly Zoom call.

They also said a family member confiscated his weapons, but it didn't stop him from obtaining a gun from out-of-state.

"That is the gun that was used to commit this tragic crime," Burns said. "I think there are still so many loopholes in the system and the ability for people, even people under severe restrictions who have been institutionalized for mental health issues, who are up for felony charges, who have violated protective orders to still be able to obtain a firearm and commit murder."

The family set up a fundraiser for Amy's three young boys, who no longer have parents.

While they hope the SCOTUS ruling is a step in the right direction, they still hope more will be done.

Domestic violence prevention advocates agree.

"There’s going to be cases that fall through the cracks," said Amanda Pyron, executive director for The Network: Advocating against Domestic Violence. "We look forward to working with the General Assembly in fall to finally pass Karina's Bill which would remove firearms from those in immediate danger of causing harm."

Pyron hopes the SCOTUS ruling will set a precedent for the Illinois General Assembly to pass Karina's Bill in November, requiring judges to issue a gun seizure order along with an order of protection, requiring law enforcement to serve the order and take the weapon within 48 hours.

The Illinois Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson released a statement saying "today's opinion applies solely to those who have been shown to be a credible threat to others through due process in the legal system. The IRSA continues to fight for the rights of peaceful citizens to protect themselves through firearm ownership and exercise of their 2nd amendment rights."

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