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Supreme Court Cites UIndy Psychology Professor Aaron Kivisto in U.S. v Rahimi Decision

Dr. Aaron Kivisto

Written by Troi Watts

On June 21, 2024 the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of seizing firearms from domestic abusers in U.S. v. Rahimi. In her full opinion concurring with the 8-1 decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor cited the article, “Firearm Use Increases Risk of Multiple Victims in Domestic Homicides,” written by University of Indianapolis Professor Aaron Kivisto. 

Specifically, Justice Sotomayor wrote: “To start, the Government has a compelling interest in keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers. A woman who lives in a house with a domestic abuser is five times more likely to be murdered if the abuser has access to a gun. See A. Kivisto & M. Porter, Firearm Use Increases Risk of Multiple Victims in Domestic Homicides, 48 J. Am. Acad. Psychiatry & L. 26 (2020).” 

Dr. Kivisto collaborated with former UIndy Clinical Psychology Doctorate student Megan Porter Staats in the publication of the article, which examines the prevalence of firearm use in domestic homicides in the U.S. and the associated risk of a multiple homicide event. Through their research, Dr. Kivisto and Porter Staats found, “More than one in four homicides in the United States occurs at the hands of an intimate partner or other family member, and firearm access increases the risk of domestic homicide.” (p. 6)

“As researchers, we aspire to produce policy-relevant research,” said Dr. Kivisto. “In this paper with my former PsyD student, Megan Porter Staats, we’ve had the rare privilege of seeing our work in action and taken into consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court in their decision on this high-profile firearm law case.”

You can read Dr. Kivisto and Porter Staats’ full article via the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law