The New Republic Laments Bruen's Actually Protecting Rights

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

If something is a right, then you have a right to do it without being harassed by the authorities. I can criticize the government, for example, and shouldn't have to worry about the government making my life difficult because I did. I shouldn't get accosted by the police simply because I'm going to a church the powers-that-be don't particularly care for.


But for a very long time, if you carried a gun, you could be approached by law enforcement under a presumption that you were doing something wrong until you showed them you were, in fact, legal.

The Bruen decision has led to a lot of legal rulings that anti-gunners don't like, including one that says just carrying a gun isn't sufficient probable cause for law enforcement to stop and search someone.

Folks at The New Republic have an issue with that.

With a headline reading, "How the Supreme Court Created One Nation Under the Gun," and a sub-headline that reads, "Two years after the high court's ruling in Bruen, we now live in a world with a constitutional expectation that any firearm is a legal firearm," they make it clear they see it as a bad thing.

It’s been more than two years since the Supreme Court opened a new frontier for gun laws. In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the court laid out a far more restrictive test for determining whether such laws violate the individual right to bear arms that the justices previously found in the Second Amendment. I’ve chronicled time and time again how judges have tried to apply that test to existing laws, sometimes with far-reaching implications.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in New York ruled that simply possessing a gun in public no longer amounts to probable cause for an arrest in that state. The decision is one of the first to apply Bruen to how police officers carry out searches and arrests—a sign of how much the Supreme Court’s ruling has changed the legal landscape when it comes to guns in American life.

In February of 2023, NYPD officers encountered Robert Homer on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, near the border of Queens’ Rochdale neighborhood. A group of officers, using the city’s ARGUS surveillance camera network, observed him sitting in the driver’s seat of a silver van. One of the officers saw Homer put what appeared to be a black handgun into one of his pockets while in the van, go to a nearby deli to get something to eat, and return to the van. After his return, officers arrested him and found a handgun in his pocket. Court documents do not say whether he was able to eat his meal first.

After his arrest, federal prosecutors charged Homer with violating a federal law that bans people with felony convictions from owning firearms. Critically, however, the officers were unaware that Homer had a previous felony conviction prior to arresting him. Instead, their justification for making the arrest—what is known as “probable cause” in court—revolved around his simple possession of a firearm. The arresting officer additionally told the court that he thought Homer lacked proper “firearm discipline” and that he was in what the police described as a “high-crime area.”


Now, The New Republic wants you to read this and think, "This is an armed felon. Why shouldn't the police be able to stop him?"

What they don't talk about are how many law-abiding citizens who carry guns in accordance with the law have been stopped and harassed by law enforcement under their preferred set of circumstances. This includes a high number of black and Hispanic gun owners, probably at a disproportionate rate compared to white gun owners.

But while folks at TNR might be upset at too few black people getting into college or too many black men getting arrested in general, they're totally fine with them being stopped and questioned simply for having a gun.

Yet carrying a gun--literally bearing arms--is a protected activity. 

The reason Bruen is being blamed for this, though, is because Bruen acknowledge that you have a right to carry a firearm outside of your home. It really is to blame for this, but that's hardly a bad thing.

If we see a group of people protesting, the assumption is that they're lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights until or unless we're shown otherwise. Gun rights are no different.

Unless, of course, they want to admit they see the Second Amendment as a second-class right, that is.

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