November 11, 2023

Gun cases at the Supreme Court, upcoming ICAT trainings, and more


PERF members,

This week I’m going to cover a few different topics, including a couple of gun cases being argued before the Supreme Court and updates about our ICAT training program.

Gun cases before the Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in United States v. Rahimi, a case about whether a federal law barring individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms violates the Second Amendment. The case involves Texan Zackey Rahimi, who is not a sympathetic litigant, as the New York Times explained:

“The case started in 2019, when Mr. Rahimi assaulted his girlfriend and threatened to shoot her if she told anyone, leading her to obtain a restraining order. The order suspended Mr. Rahimi’s handgun license and prohibited him from possessing firearms.

“Mr. Rahimi defied the order in flagrant fashion, according to court records.

“He threatened a different woman with a gun, leading to charges of assault with a deadly weapon. Then, in the space of two months, he opened fire in public five times.”

As PERF outlined in our 2019 report on gun violence, an estimated 1,000-2,000 domestic violence homicides are committed with a firearm in the United States every year.

Initial reports suggest the justices seemed inclined to allow the prohibition on gun possession for individuals like Mr. Rahimi.

Last Friday the Supreme Court agreed to hear Garland v. Cargill, which will decide whether the federal government is allowed to ban bump stocks. In 2018 the Department of Justice amended regulations to clarify that bump stocks, which enable semi-automatic firearms to fire more rapidly, are classified as machine guns and therefore banned under federal law. The perpetrator of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, who killed 60 people and wounded hundreds in roughly 10 minutes, had 12 semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks. The Court is expected to hear arguments on the case in the coming month.

The cases are being evaluated under the standard established by the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen last year, which “requires courts to assess whether modern firearms regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding.”

I think most police leaders would agree that individuals under domestic violence restraining orders should not have firearms, and no one is safer when people can possess bump stocks. I hope the Court allows these and other reasonable restrictions that will help reduce gun violence. These two cases will affect police chiefs’ and sheriffs’ ability to protect their communities.

ICAT training updates

Last week PERF taught ICAT to trainers with the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). MPD will begin ICAT training in January, and PERF instructors will return for a standard “quality control” observation at some point early next year. PERF has now trained representatives from more than 1,000 agencies, including the police departments in New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Austin, and Elgin, Illinois, as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police.

ICAT instructors and Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department trainers at the MPD academy 

MPD officers participate in ICAT scenario-based training

In the coming weeks you will receive a hard copy of our guide to implementing the ICAT training program at your agency. I encourage you to share it with your command staff and consider implementing ICAT, if you have not already done so.

To help you implement ICAT, we will continue to host train-the-trainer sessions next year at our ICAT Training Facility in Decatur, Illinois. We currently have spaces available in our January 11-12 class and will be opening up additional classes throughout the year. The training is free, but attendees are responsible for their own travel costs.

PERF is also available to come to your agency to train either your trainers or your entire department in ICAT. For more information, contact Tom Wilson at [email protected].

And next February we will host a national ICAT conference in San Diego for instructors who are already teaching ICAT. Like our 2023 conference, this will be an opportunity for ICAT instructors to discuss teaching strategies and hear about the latest updates to the curriculum. The conference will be held on February 7-8 in San Diego.  We will also hold a regular ICAT train-the-trainer session on February 5-6 in San Diego for trainers who would like to attend the conference but have not yet been trained in ICAT.

The 2023 National ICAT Conference in San Diego

PERF recognized by American Security Today

PERF has received an ASTORS award from American Security Today, which recognizes “top firms and government agencies in the homeland security and public safety fields.” The award cited PERF’s “exceptional work in policing and latest efforts on recruitment, mental health, and officer wellness.” We are honored to receive this recognition. Former NYPD commissioner, LAPD chief, and PERF president Bill Bratton will accept the award on our behalf next week in New York City.

Washington notes

The multi-year debate about where to build the new FBI headquarters was settled this week when the General Services Administration announced the facility will be located in Greenbelt, Maryland. FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed “concerns about fairness and transparency in the process and GSA’s failure to adhere to its own site selection plan.”

Giant panda Mei Xiang and cub Bao Bao. (Source: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute)

And, in non-law enforcement news, the D.C. area was sad to see the three giant pandas at the National Zoo leave for China this week. Giant pandas initially arrived at the National Zoo as a goodwill gesture by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Two of the pandas had been at the zoo since 2000, and their cub was born in 2020.

Have a wonderful Veterans Day Weekend.