I’ve had a lot of gun owners ask me if the recent shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas are going to have an impact on the upcoming decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen; the case challenging New York’s subjective and arbitrary “may issue” permitting system for those who want to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense. I have no personal inside information on whether or not those heinous crimes might persuade one of the justices on the conservative wing on the Court to backtrack on their position, but I tend to doubt it. Neither of those crimes were committed by concealed carry holders, obviously, and given that the FBI’s recent report on active shooters highlighted multiple armed citizens who were able to stop active shooters last year, there’s plenty of real world evidence to show that armed citizens can and do save lives.
Now, however, we’ve got a story involving the illegal carrying of guns that hits much closer to home to the justices. One home in particular.
First off, I’m glad that this guy was caught before he got any further. As my friend and colleague Ed Morrissey points out at our sister site HotAir, some of the same Democrats who are demanding a host of new restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms in self-defense had no problem whatsoever encouraging the angry left to head to the homes of conservative justices.
This is one major reason that Congress passed 18 USC 1507 in the first place. It explicitly forbids demonstrations at the homes of federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, in part to provide them security against angry mobs and malevolent individuals. There is no legitimate grassroots demonstration function in regard to the judiciary, and Congress rightly acted to protect judges against intimidation campaigns.
Instead of doing his job, Garland stalled while Chuck Schumer actively encouraged the illegal actions targeting Kavanaugh and other Supreme Court justices. What’s more, Nancy Pelosi has stalled legislation that would have provided more security for SCOTUS justices in the wake of those illegal intimidation campaigns encouraged by Schumer and ignored for a time by Garland:
Based on the initial reports, this guy sounds like a progressive whackjob hailing from one of the most restrictive states in the nation in terms of gun laws, who managed to make his way 3,000 miles to the D.C. suburbs but was stopped by police before he could carry out his politically-motivated attack in a state that also has very restrictive gun laws.
Will this incident impact the Court’s pending decision in Bruen? Remember, even though it’s believed that the opinion and any dissents have already been written, justices are free to change their minds right up until the opinion is officially released, so it’s possible that a majority opinion could shift to a dissent if one or more justices becomes persuaded that a “shall issue” system goes too far in recognizing the right to bear arms. I tend to doubt that will happen here, based both on the circumstances of the arrest near Kavanaugh’s home and the scope of the New York law in question.
The guy arrested in Maryland this morning wasn’t lawfully carrying a firearm, and I highly doubt that he has a valid carry permit allowing him to conceal carry in California either. If anything, this arrest shows that “may issue” carry laws don’t prevent the criminally-minded from illegally carrying a firearm, but they do preclude the average citizen from being able to lawfully carry a gun to protect themselves. We’re not all Supreme Court justices provided with round-the-clock security at times of heightened threats. Most of us are our own personal protection service, and leaving us unable to exercise our right to carry ensures that any criminal who targets us will have the upper hand.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Bruen case aren’t asking for SCOTUS to enact a Constitutional Carry regime in all 50 states (as nice as that would be). Instead, they’re simply asking the Court to declare the current “may issue” system unconstitutional, and to replace it with a “shall issue” system that removes the requirement for applicants to show a “justifiable need” to carry a firearm and precludes issuing authorities from using their own subjective judgement as to whether or not an applicant is “suitable” to exercise their constitutional rights; a standard that’s already in place in 42 out of 50 states.
I’m sure the threat against Brett Kavanaugh’s life will be a big topic of conversation at the Court, but I don’t see it changing the outcome of the Bruen case… or the rhetoric by Democrats like Chuck Schumer, for that matter.