The Associated Press, or AP, is supposed to be unbiased, though we’ve all seen countless examples of them being anything but.
That’s especially true regarding matters pertaining to the Second Amendment.
These days, the right to keep and bear arms may have a firmer foundation on which to rest following the Bruen decision. It’s rather clear that there can be no total gun ban and that any restriction has to conform to a particular framework that won’t be easy for any law.
It seems this has led to what the AP calls “turmoil” in the courts.
A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment is upending gun laws across the country, dividing judges and sowing confusion over what firearm restrictions can remain on the books.
The high court’s ruling that set new standards for evaluating gun laws left open many questions, experts say, resulting in an increasing number of conflicting decisions as lower court judges struggle to figure out how to apply it.
The Supreme Court’s so-called Bruen decision changed the test that lower courts had long used for evaluating challenges to firearm restrictions. Judges should no longer consider whether the law serves public interests like enhancing public safety, the justices said.
Under the Supreme Court’s new test, the government that wants to uphold a gun restriction must look back into history to show it is consistent with the country’s “historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
Courts in recent months have declared unconstitutional federal laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers,felony defendants and people who use marijuana. Judges have shot down a federal ban on possessing guns with serial numbers removed and gun restrictions for young adults in Texas and have blocked the enforcement of Delaware’s ban on the possession of homemade “ghost guns.”
In several instances, judges looking at the same laws have come down on opposite sides on whether they are constitutional in the wake of the conservative Supreme Court majority’s ruling. The legal turmoil caused by the first major gun ruling in a decade will likely force the Supreme Court to step in again soon to provide more guidance for judges.
“There’s confusion and disarray in the lower courts because not only are they not reaching the same conclusions, they’re just applying different methods or applying Bruen’s method differently,” said Jacob Charles, a professor at Pepperdine University’s law school who focuses on firearms law.
Sure, there’s a bit of confusion. The Bruen decision has set a stage most courts have never seen before. They now have to consider whether the Founders would have approved of such a law by looking at whether or not they approved of something similar during their own time.
But is it really a bad thing?
The only downside is that it’s taken us this long to get to this point. While the AP is apparently concerned that the status quo has been upturned, I’m more upset that the status quo was allowed to become the status quo in the first place.
It’s just insane that it came to this.
Yet here we are. We now have an opportunity to right the ship and put the onus on things back where they were. No longer can courts just claim it’s in the government’s interest to restrict our rights – something they’d never say about the First or Fourth Amendments, it should be remembered – but must instead look at the matter objectively and compare it to historical precedent.
The AP may lament this “turmoil,” but I only lament that we didn’t have this upheaval a long time ago.