The Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case that has Second Amendment implications. According to The Hill, the ruling will be announced soon — perhaps in days — and marks the first time the Court has offered an opinion on a gun-rights issue in “more than a decade.”
The Court is expected to rule on a pending case brought forward by the State of New York that imposed restrictions on the ability to secure a concealed gun permit.
The expected ruling comes as the country is reeling from two mass shootings in the last month — one at a supermarket in New York and one at an elementary school in Texas.
Also in the news is how a gunman with a rifle, intending to shoot many people at a graduation party in West Virginia, was stopped by a woman at the event who pulled her legally owned pistol from her purse and thwarted what could have been a mass casualty event.
Experts speculate that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the New York case could impact gun control efforts on a national level.
Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law, commented:
“It does seem relatively clear that the Court is going to strike down New York’s law and make it harder for cities and states to restrict concealed carry of firearms. It remains to be seen exactly how broad the Supreme Court goes, but one thing is clear: as mass shootings become more of a political issue, the Court is going to take options away from lawmakers on the basis of the Second Amendment.”
One of the key issues is whether or not the Second Amendment allows for gun restrictions to be imposed on private citizens.
As approximately 75% of Americans do not trust government officials, many expect fierce pushback if the Court expands the focus of its ruling to include broad new restrictions on firearm ownership.
With the Senate deadlocked and President Joe Biden acknowledging that an executive order on the issue could be unconstitutional, most Democrats are hoping the high Court sides with New York, tightens restrictions on concealed weapons permits and bans AR-15s.
Some Republican lawmakers have argued that the answer to mass shootings at schools is not banning certain weapons but increasing community-level mental health care and limiting entrance points at schools.
In 2008, the Court ruled 5-4 in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense.
However, in that ruling, the Court expressed that the Second Amendment right is “not unlimited.”
Some believe the limits and reach of the Second Amendment are about to be tested.
According to a report in The Hill, Joseph Blocher, a law professor at Duke who codirects the Duke Center for Firearms Law, called the case a potential “blockbuster.”
“I do think that this case will, more than Heller did, tell us what forms of gun regulation are constitutional and why,” he said.
The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Biden administration, has argued in support of New York in the pending case.
Blocher, however, noted that it is likely the New York law will be struck down as unconstitutional and, as a result, “lawmakers could be left with fewer options for regulating firearms.”
“At least until now, the scope of gun regulation has been primarily a question for politics and we decide collectively the degree and the ways in which we want to regulate. The Second Amendment puts some outside limits on that, but the Supreme Court has repeatedly reiterated that the Second Amendment permits various forms of gun regulation, and in the [New York] case, the Court seems likely to restrict the available policy space, so we will probably have fewer options.”
Winkler of UCLA Law argues that the Court’s ruling could have a major impact on public safety.
“We already know more guns equals more crime and we have an awful raft of mass shootings – gun homicides have spiked in the last couple of years,” he said. “We have a major gun violence problem and expanding Second Amendment protections, greater than they already are, is likely to make it much harder for lawmakers to enact effective laws to reduce gun violence.”