Nurse Researchers Respond to Us. vs. Rahimi

Nurse Researchers Respond to Us. vs. Rahimi

Friday, the Supreme Court decided U.S. vs. Rahimi, ruling 8 to 1 to uphold the constitutionality of a federal law that prevents people with domestic violence protection orders from possessing firearms.

Research shows that the mere presence of firearms in a home where domestic violence has occurred significantly increases the risk of lethality. Furthermore, the law in question has been in effect for 30 years. The court’s decision is a relief for advocates fighting domestic violence and gun violence; it offers hope for the future of “common sense” gun laws in America.

Nurse scholars at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing were involved in drafting and signing amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on the case, and their research was cited in even more amicus briefs submitted. It’s just the latest examples of nurses’ critical role in promoting healing policy, and it’s necessary because nurses must address domestic violence through policy in addition to caring for the individual survivors at the bedside or in clinics. They’re powered with support from the Institute for Policy Solutions at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, which champions the translation of nurse-led research into policy.

Here’s what four domestic violence researchers have to say on the decision.

Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN

I am relieved and excited about the decision. It will facilitate some reduction of the horrific levels of intimate partner homicide that we have in this country, the majority of which are committed with guns by men who have been violent toward their partner or have killed their ex-partner in the past.

Michelle Patch, PhD, APRN-CNS, DF-AFN, FAAN

I am elated that the US Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality that individuals subject to domestic violence  restraining orders are prohibited from possessing a firearm. This 8-1 decision serves to continue protections for those experiencing domestic violence and will absolutely save lives. Nursing’s contributions to Amicus Briefs unquestionably helped support this decision.

Kamila Alexander, PhD, MSN/MPH, RN

I am elated that this decision can support evidence-based policies to prevent the unconscionable levels of IP homicide that disproportionately affects so many women of color already marginalized in our communities.

Katie Spearman, MSN, RN (PhD candidate)

Today’s decision is a terrific outcome and will keep guns out of the hands of known dangerous offenders restrained by protective orders, a protection that victims of domestic violence need and deserve. This is a life-saving decision for many women and children in the U.S. I’m proud of the efforts of nurse scholars for their research and advocacy in this field—a testament to the power of the nurse’s role in advocacy and policy work in saving lives.

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