I’m feeling pretty darn good about the New York carry case after reading the Iast brief filed with the Supreme Court, but I’m also trying not to get my hopes up too high in terms of what SCOTUS might ultimately say about the right to bear arms. I’m not expecting the Court to declare any and all carry licensing laws to be an infringement on the Constitution, in part because that’s not the question before them, but I am hoping that the court strikes down the subjective and arbitrary “may issue” laws that are being challenged, as well providing clear and unambiguous language about the proper standard of review that should be used to determine the constitutionality of any gun control laws; language that makes it clear the Second Amendment is just as important as the First, Fourth, and any other amendment safeguarding individual liberties. If we can get that out of the Court, then we’ll be in much better shape for the legal fights ahead.
And yes, there are plenty of other court challenges to come. As 2A advocate Rob Morse has pointed out, the gun control lobby and their allies in the New York legislature are going to do everything they can to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of any Supreme Court decision striking down the state’s current carry laws.
The constitution does not enforce itself. At best, an expansive reading of the right to bear arms by the Supreme Court will allow advocates to bring suit in other states. They can challenge existing laws one at a time. Our reading of the decision may indicate that laws in New Jersey are unconstitutional, but our opinion doesn’t matter. It is the opinion of judges at the district, appellate and circuit level that matters. We’ve already seen these judges ignore Supreme Court cases that support the right to bear arms like Heller and McDonald. At best, a favorable ruling might give us another tool in our appeals, but our rights are not secure.
The New York legislature might take parts of the most objectionable laws from other states and claim that their new permitting scheme satisfy the court’s ruling. The legislature has already returned criminals to the streets of our inner cities. Through expensive fees and bureaucratic delays, they might again deny ordinary citizens the right of armed defense in public in the name of “public safety” and “protecting vulnerable minorities”. The people most at risk from violent crime are poor minority women in our inner cities. They could again be disarmed by progressive politicians, by activist judges, and by a complicit press.
The Heller case was hugely important for gun owners, even if Washington, D.C. still has plenty of gun control laws on the books. The same is true of NYSPRA v. Bruen, which could very well be to the right to bear arms what Heller was to the right to keep them. A good outcome in the New York carry case would be invaluable, not only to gun owners in New York but Second Amendment supporters nationwide. It won’t, however, put an end to our fight to defend our rights. In fact, if the gun control lobby is defeated in their attempt to write “bear arms” out of the Second Amendment, you and I both know that they’ll try to come after us another way. Heck, it could infuriate them enough to convince Biden to try for an even bigger version of the backdoor gun ban he’s already cooking up; one that would ban AR-15s and other modern sporting rifles via an ATF rule change declaring them to be “readily converted” to machine guns and therefore subject to the National Firearms Act.