When the Bruen decision was released, a lot of us rejoiced. After all, the decision basically set the groundwork for gun control laws all over the nation to be laid to waste. Few would survive the text and history standard presented in the landmark decision.
Others obviously had a different reaction. They want gun control and they knew the Supreme Court’s ruling would be an impediment going forward.
In fact, the Huffington Post is now reporting that it’s causing confusion with state lawmakers.
The Supreme Court has upended the legal landscape on issues ranging from abortion to religious expression to administrative law ever since conservatives seized a six-vote supermajority following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The court’s reversal and rewriting of precedent has sown confusion for state-level lawmakers trying to craft legislation in response to the needs of their constituents. In few areas has the conservative court’s agenda caused more chaos than in gun law.
In June 2022, the court ruled in a 6-3 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that New York’s law governing the issuance of concealed carry permits was unconstitutional. In doing so, the court’s conservative justices, led by Justice Clarence Thomas, put forward a new standard that requires restrictions on gun ownership to be judged constitutional only if they are “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” in the 18th and 19th centuries — long before the development of modern guns.
The new historical test has produced a chaotic stream of lower court decisions as the judiciary tries to apply the standards of previous centuries to the laws of a modern world. In the past year, rulings have struck down bans on assault weapons, bans on gun-carrying in sensitive places, bans on gun ownership for people under 21 and, in the most egregious case, restrictions on gun ownership for persons under domestic violence protective orders.
For state legislators trying to respond to constituents’ concerns about rising rates of gun violence and mass shootings, this historical test — and the subjective manner in which judges deploy it — makes it difficult to determine which laws are constitutional and which ones are not.
Of course, let’s also be honest, it hasn’t stopped a lot of states from passing gun control just the same. They might try to sort of look like they’re adhering to Bruen, but they’re not. Look at states like New York and New Jersey, and their so-called carry-killer measures passed in the wake of the decision.
Those rules were made to sort of look like someone might be trying to follow the ruling so long as you hadn’t actually read the ruling.
It’s like anti-gun lawmakers may be confused, but their answer is to just throw laws at the people and see what gets overturned and what doesn’t.
I can’t rule out that part of the strategy here is to try and bankrupt pro-gun groups due to them having to file so many lawsuits challenging gun control laws all over the nation.
it’s not a great idea if that’s what truly is going on–and I’m not saying this is their goal, only that it wouldn’t shock me to find out it was–but at this point, who knows?
In fact, I’d love to see a lot more confusion among state lawmakers, truth be told. Maybe then they’d stop trying to infringe on our rights.