While the Supreme Court didn’t take any action on a right-to-carry case out of New York on Monday, justices did turn away a challenge by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in a case that has far reaching implications for both the First and Second Amendment. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation joins me to discuss the Court’s decision in Grewal v. Defense Distributed and why he views it as a hopeful sign when it comes to other 2A cases.
SCOTUS Rejects Anti-Gun AG's Request In 3D Printed Gun Case
Grewal has been targeting Defense Distributed for several years now in an attempt to block the organization from distributing files for 3D printed firearms. After Grewal sent a cease-and-desist letter to Defense Distributed threatening criminal sanctions for disseminating the files, the organization, along with the Second Amendment Foundation, sued in federal court in Texas challenging the AG’s actions as a violation of the First Amendment.
Grewal responded by trying to have the lawsuit thrown out, arguing that Texas shouldn’t be the jurisdiction to hear the case, and a district judge agreed, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous three-judge opinion, overturned the judge’s decision and issued a ruling keeping the case in the Lone Star State. Grewal appealed to the Supreme Court for relief, but on Monday the Court denied his petition. As Gottlieb explains, that means their lawsuit against New Jersey’s AG will continue to be heard in Texas, and now that the argument over where the lawsuit should take place is over, the argument over the constitutionality of Grewal’s actions can begin in earnest.
With Joe Biden now mulling executive actions targeting the 3D printing of firearms, the case has become even more important. Gottlieb points out that home-built firearms have existed long before the Bill of Rights, and the federal government has never attempted to ban them (though current law requires that any DIY gun be serialized if it’s sold or enters the stream of commerce).
Gun control activists and anti-gun politicians like Grewal argue that it’s also never been easier for the average person to build a gun than it is today, and since criminals could build a gun (though it’s illegal for them do so) with the help of a 3D printer or with an unfinished frame or receiver, legal gun owners should be banned from doing so as well. With the files for 3D printed guns available online, however, the only hope that the gun-banners have is to try to remove any and all files from the Internet.
It’s a fool’s errand, but it’s also an unconstitutional abuse of power for Grewal to try to curtail the freedom of speech of Second Amendment activists. While Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court to reject Grewal’s argument doesn’t have direct implications for the First or Second Amendment, Gottlieb says he sees the denial as a positive sign; not only for the Defense Distributed case, but for other 2A challenges pending before the Court.
That includes the right-to-carry case known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which the Court has rescheduled to be heard once again in conference this Friday. While many gun owners are skeptical that SCOTUS will finally act on a carry case, given the fact that it’s been more than a decade since the Court issued a substantive ruling in a Second Amendment lawsuit, Gottlieb believes the justices’ actions in rejecting Grewal’s argument is a sign that gun owners shouldn’t give up hope.
Perhaps I’m just an incurable optimist, but I continue to believe that the Supreme Court will accept either the NYSPRA case or the Young v. Hawaii case that was recently decided by the Ninth Circuit. Regardless of our personal opinions, we shouldn’t have too long to wait before the Court decides to grant or deny cert in the case out of New York, and the Hawaii case could be heard in conference in just a few months. If the Court hasn’t accepted a Second Amendment case by the end of their current term, I’ll buy into the idea that gun owners can expect no relief from the highest court in the land, but for the moment, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and clinging hopefully to the idea that the Court will weigh in on, and ultimately side with, our right to bear arms in self-defense.