When the Supreme Court handed down the Bruen decision, a whole lot changed. It wasn’t just about the nation becoming “shall issue” with regard to gun permits–which was the best I realistically expected–but the entire landscape of gun control shifted.
Suddenly, the debate between strict and intermediate scrutiny was null and void. Neither was deemed appropriate for examining Second Amendment issues.
Instead, it created a text and history standard. Courts had to look at history to determine whether a restriction considered today is sort of a spiritual descendant of one from the time of the nation’s founding. If so, it can stand. If not, well, tough.
Now, the Bruen decision is causing some interesting issues that some in the media are very alarmed about.
The ruling has led to an “explosion in court challenges”, said Nick Suplina, a senior vice president of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that supports stricter gun laws.
Suplina explained that the June decision “has really emboldened the farthest fringes of the [pro-gun] movement to say that everything that you could possibly think of in the realm of gun safety is unconstitutional”.
How those court battles play out could shape the landscape of gun control for generations and eventually determine state and federal legislators’ ability to enact lasting gun laws, advocates like Suplina told Al Jazeera.
“This moment is really important because expansive, unprecedented readings of the Second Amendment could lead to challenges of life-saving gun laws,” he said.
In the eight months immediately after the ruling, an analysis by Jacob Charles, an associate professor at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, found there had been 212 claims adjudicated in courts across the US challenging pre-existing gun restrictions based on Bruen.
In at least 31 of the claims, the courts ruled in favour of the challenger. Those cases include successful claims against requirements for licences to carry guns, assault weapon bans, and bans on so-called untraceable “ghost guns”, the report showed.
Most recently, pro-gun groups cited the Bruen ruling in an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court, seeking to block Illinois’s recently passed ban on assault-style firearms and large-capacity magazines. They argued there is “no historical analogue to such a ban”. A lower court, however, previously ruled the ban fits within “the history of firearm regulation”.
Oh, dear. Really?
Do you mean to tell me that a ruling is being used to argue the unconstitutionality of a gun control law? I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you!
That is, of course, precisely what was always going to happen, and let’s not think for a moment that if the ruling went a different way and gun control groups could, they wouldn’t dare use a Supreme Court ruling to challenge a state law.
Of course they would.
The truth is that Bruen is probably the best ruling we could have hoped for. What’s more, it lays the groundwork for the protection of not just our gun rights, but all of our rights. There are those who want to restrict your right to protest, your right to speech, and a plethora of other things right here and now. They want to keep you from being able to fully enjoy your constitutionally protected rights.
Bruen’s framework doesn’t just protect gun rights, but all of them.
In the meantime, though, it screwing up gun control efforts throughout the nation isn’t cause for concern. It’s cause for celebration.