CNN acknowledges Bruen a danger to gun control efforts

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CNN is not a news network friendly to the Second Amendment. Anyone with a semi-functioning brain knows this already. It doesn’t take much to find evidence of their hostility toward private gun ownership.


Yet even they apparently have come to recognize that Bruen changed the landscape.

In the three months since the 6-3 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, scores of new lawsuits have been filed against gun restrictions at the federal, state and local levels.

Though the Supreme Court case concerned a type of gun permitting regime embraced by just a handful of states, the conservative majority used the Bruen decision to provide new instructions for how courts are to assess the constitutionality of gun laws nationwide.

The decision was the first major Supreme Court guns ruling in more than a decade, and it came after Justice Clarence Thomas – who authored the majority opinion – had previously complained that the high court had allowed the Second Amendment to be treated as a “a disfavored right.”

Since the June ruling, federal judges in at least a half-dozen different cases have already cited the Bruen decision to rule against gun restrictions that have included local assault weapons bans, prohibitions on the manufacture of homemade firearms and bans on older teenagers publicly carrying handguns.

Of course, we’ve seen the ramifications of a post-Bruen world already, including the ruling that effectively shut down huge chunks of New York’s latest gun control efforts.


That’s a good thing from our perspective.

Yet the real upside for Bruen is that it created a new standard for how gun control laws’ constitutionality could be decided.

“Imagine if you are a district attorney, somewhere in some random state, you suddenly get a lawsuit brought on this, on some gun law you’ve got, and then you’ve got maybe 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. What are you going to do?” said Carlton Larson, a professor at UC-Davis School of Law who specializes in the historical basis of Second Amendment rights.

“I am a legal historian by training,” Larson said. “I would find it very, very hard to turn around quickly on that and come up with something thoughtful.”

But gun rights advocates say this work of historical analysis is a better fit for courts than the means-ends balancing test that many lower courts were applying pre-Bruen. The old approach required courts to act like legislators, said Peter Patterson – a lawyer for the firm Cooper and Kirk, which has represented gun rights groups in high profile cases – while the historical analysis, he said, is “much more a judicial task.”

Patterson is completely correct. Means-end balancing basically requires lawmakers to reach a determination as to whether or not gun control laws are warranted because society benefits from them. That’s a very subjective thing, and it’s why we had such massive disparity in how the courts ruled on gun issues. If a judge supported gun control, then they’d honestly believe such measures were warranted in an effort to balance the government’s interests in preventing violence.


But the courts aren’t supposed to be subjective. It needs to be objective when examining cases, and the Bruen standard does just that.

As a result, as CNN notes in their headline, gun control laws across the nation are in jeopardy.

Yet it’s also important to remember that elections have consequences. It means that gun rights voters need to mobilize to support gun rights candidates. After all, the new standard only remains so long as those on the Supreme Court bench support it. Another shift like we’ve seen over the last couple of years, only going in the opposite direction, and all this good work could be changed.

So get out and vote.

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