The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a Second Amendment challenge to a New York City gun law on next Monday, and on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the case and why gun control advocates are terrified that the outcome could doom many of their most egregious infringements on the right to keep and bear arms around the country.
The case is known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York City, and it’s challenging a New York City law that restricted most pistol owners from transporting their legally owned firearm anywhere other than a few pre-approved ranges in the five boroughs. I use the past tense because the city actually changed several provisions of the law over the summer in an attempt to moot the case and avoid any Supreme Court opinion on the issue.
The Court has told both sides to be ready to address the mootness question, but refused requests by New York City to drop the case before oral arguments take place. Paul Clement, the former Solicitor General who’s representing the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, is expected to argue that the city’s changes to the law haven’t addressed all of the challenges raised in the lawsuit, but that even if they did, the city could simply revert back to the old law once the possibility of intervention by the Supreme Court was off the table.
The reason why gun control advocates are so concerned about this case isn’t because they have any great affection or even see any need for the New York City gun law in question, it’s that they’re terrified the Supreme Court will use this case to emphatically state that laws concerning the Second Amendment rights of Americans must be treated with the highest level of judicial review.
Over at the website SCOTUSblog, an online symposium on the case has been taking place for the past several days. Dave Kopel, research director at the Independence Institute, and Randy Barnett, professor at Georgetown University School of Law, have an excellent piece documenting the abuse of the Heller and McDonald decisions by lower courts in order to uphold gun control laws, and why the Supreme Court needs to step in now and ensure that gun control laws are subject to “strict scrutiny.”
Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch and the late Antonin Scalia dissented from several cert denials in which lower courts upheld especially egregious violations of the Second Amendment. For example, a San Francisco law prohibits residents from having a firearm available for immediate self-defense in a bedside table while sleeping—or even while changing clothes. A Chicago suburb outlaws many common firearms, including the most widely owned rifle in American history.
Scalia and Thomas denounced the opinion upholding the Chicago suburb’s gun ban as an example of widespread “noncompliance with our Second Amendment precedents.” Regarding the Supreme Court’s refusal to consider the San Francisco ordinance, Thomas and Scalia observed: “Despite the clarity with which we described the Second Amendment’s core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts, including the ones here, have failed to protect it.” In short, as Thomas stated in his dissent from the denial of certioriari in Silvester v. Becerra, “the lower courts are resisting this Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald and are failing to protect the Second Amendment.”
The problem is well known. It is time for the Supreme Court of the United States to defend its preeminent role in constitutional interpretation and to address lower-court nullification of the Second Amendment.
The entire piece is well worth a read, and you should check out some of the pieces defending the status quo and New York City’s idiotic gun control law as well. Plus, look for full coverage of the oral arguments here at Bearing Arms on Monday.
Also on today’s program we have the story of a Miami man who defended himself and his family against an robber armed with an AK-47, a career criminal in California who should’ve been behind bars when he allegedly shot three workers at a Church’s Chicken, and a police officer in Hartford, Connecticut going above and beyond to help the city’s homeless.
Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and the Townhall.com podcast page. We’ll be back with a new show tomorrow with guest Mark Walters from Armed American Radio.