Anti-Second Amendment activists were pretty happy last November. They gained the House, an effective majority in the Senate, and the new president ran on gun control. It looked as if everything were looking up for them.
Then they ran smack into the face of reality.
Despite having an effective majority in the Senate with the new vice president serving as a tie-breaker, they still couldn’t get past the filibuster. Sure, they want that gone, but they can’t seem to make that happen either.
Now, despite all their supposed advantage, they’re freaked out because it seems the Supreme Court is taking Second Amendment cases again.
It’s almost opening day for the most important court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court. While there might not be a marching band present to usher in the first day of the new term on Monday, there will surely be some fireworks this Supreme Court season.
This year we barely had time to miss the Supreme Court. Typically, justices sign our yearbooks in June with a perfunctory “HAGS!” (Have a Great Summer!) and disappear for months as they give well-paid speeches in far-off places. This year, they stuck around, busying themselves with many so-called shadow docket decisions. They allowed Texas’ restrictive abortion law to go into effect and gave a big thumbs down to President Joe Biden’s attempt to extend the federal eviction moratorium and to his effort to end former President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Now they return to their regularly scheduled programming. They’ve already set oral arguments in a number of key cases that could reshape our legal and political landscape and exacerbate society’s existing fault lines.
Of course, the author fails to note that if President Biden hadn’t been trying to run roughshod over the Constitution, the justices could have been enjoying a vacation in Cabo or something.
Instead, they had to work.
Anyway, moving on…
On Nov. 3, the court will hear arguments in the second most controversial and consequential question facing justices this term: whether the state of New York can mandate that people who want to obtain a license to carry a concealed gun show good reason, such as self-defense.
The Supreme Court, much to the chagrin of some of its more conservative justices, has largely shied away from taking big Second Amendment cases since it struck down a District of Columbia law in 2008 that banned the carrying of unregistered handguns and barred the registration of handguns, but allowed the chief of police to issue one-year licenses for handguns. The D.C. law also required that people who legally own registered firearms keep them in a nonfunctional state (for instance by binding them with trigger locks) in the home. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for a majority of the court, famously concluded that the Second Amendment includes an individual right to bear arms, as opposed to a right given only to the militia, and that this right includes the ability to own a functional gun in one’s home for self-defense.
The court’s decision in the gun case it will hear Nov. 3 will tell us how much power states have to restrict a person’s ability to carry a gun outside of the home. In addition to New York, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island also place restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons outside the home. All of those laws could be on the chopping block.
Which, of course, is just horrible. People might be able to lawfully carry guns if they’re not convicted felons. How awful. I mean, that handful of states might just find out that shall-issue isn’t going to arm legions of gangbangers or something.
After all, even shall-issue laws require a background check. Permits aren’t just handed out on the street corner. You have to apply and you receive a permit after a check determines there’s no reason to deny you one. Convicted serial killers aren’t exactly getting permits in these states.
It should also be remembered that when you mandate that people should have to show a “good reason” to get a carry permit, you also introduce the opportunity for corruption. We’ve seen examples in California and within the NYPD as well. Remove an official’s ability to determine what is a good reason and you remove their ability to demand bribes for their determination.
Oh, and there’s that whole “right to keep and bear arms” thing in the Constitution. We mustn’t forget that, either.
Yes, I know, that’s actually the big thing. I agree. However, at the end of the day, that’s the one we agree with the most and the other side agrees with the least, so it’s not really the best counterargument, even if 100 percent accurate.
Regardless, though, the case now rests in the hands of the Supreme Court and absolutely no one expects them to rule in favor of New York. The only real question is just how far will they go in overturning the law.