This SCOTUS Case Could Spell Doom For Gun Control Advocates
While an issue as hotly debated in the media, gun control has been debated far less in our nation’s highest courts. In fact, it’s been nearly a decade since a case pertaining to the topic has made its way to the Supreme Court.
In 2008 D.C. vs Heller case the SCOTUS upheld that the Second Amendment protected the citizens right to bear arms, and that this is independent of any membership or service in a militia. The case struct down DC’s handgun ban, and regulations that owned rifles and shotguns must be kept unloaded and disassembled while being bound by a trigger lock. The most recent case, the 2020 McDonald vs. Chicago case, further built upon D.C. vs. Heller. That case found that the 14th Amendment makes keeping and bearing arms under the Second Amendment for the purpose of self defense applicable to the states (as opposed to just Washington D.C.). I’m surprised such cases were even necessary.
As LifeZette explains, the SCOTUS heard argument Monday from Second Amendment advocates “challenging a New York City law that restricts licensed holders to a handful of shooting ranges within the city.”
The lawsuit in New York began as a challenge to the city’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits, either to a shooting range or a second home.
Lower courts upheld the regulation, but the Supreme Court’s decision in January to step into the case signaled a revived interest in gun rights from a court with two new Trump-appointed justices: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Amusingly, the city has tried to make sure that the SCOTUS doesn’t set precedent on this. When the SCOTUS agreed to hear the gun owners appeal, NYC changed their regulations to allow gun owners to transport their weapons outside of NYC, and the entire State enacted a law to prevent cities from imposing these kind of regulations in the future. Despite those actions, the Supreme Court didn’t dismiss the case.
As for what liberals are exactly panicking over, it’s that this case sets anti-gun control precedent on a whole host of gun related issues. Back in November, Vox’s Ian Millhiser warned his fellow progressives that “if the plaintiffs have their way, the Court will wind up deciding a much bigger question than the one it originally agreed to hear.” More specifically, “Paul Clement, the prominent conservative lawyer representing the plaintiffs, submitted a brief that presents the case as a grand fight over ‘draconian restrictions on the possession and transport of handguns.’ Even though his clients already won with New York City and State changing its laws to accommodate them, Clement wants to proceed. And he’s urging the Court to see this case as a much bigger challenge than the one his clients raised in the lower courts.”
Of course, none of this matters unless the SCOTUS decides to take up the case. They heard oral arguments on Monday about the case, and Sonia Sotamayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg objected on the basis that the case was settled. Clement countered that his clients didn’t fully get what they want, and that they could still suffer consequences from the old law (though his real goal is wider reaching, as previously mentioned). Samil Alito said it would be “unfair” to decide the case is moot.
The Court has until June to decide whether or not to take the case.