SCOTUS Set To Deliver Game-Changing Ruling On Gun Control

OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion

There will be a ruling from the US Supreme Court in the coming days that will have a significant impact on the federal government’s approach to gun control and laws across the country.

Several high court observers believe that the decision will likely strengthen and expand individual rights to own firearms under the Second Amendment. This decision comes on the heels of two recent mass murders, one in Buffalo, NY, the other in Uvalde, TX, that have left dozens dead or wounded.

According to a report in The Hill:

The conservative majority court is expected to rule in the coming days or weeks in a pending dispute over New York state’s tight limits on the concealed carry of handguns.

Experts said that while it’s unclear just how broadly the Supreme Court would rule, the restrictive New York law is likely to be invalidated in a decision that could have ramifications for gun control efforts across the country.

“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,” Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law, told the outlet.

“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,” Winkler added.

Despite the fact that the justices are expected to announce their ruling as soon as next week, if one does not come, then it will come no later than the end of June or beginning of July.

In addition, the Supreme Court is expected to make a major ruling on the landmark Roe v Wade decision from 1973, which legalized abortion.

“As they deliberate, the U.S. is again engaged in a wrenching debate over the constitutional right to bear arms and Americans’ concerns over personal safety in a country with more than 390 million privately owned guns,” The Hill reported. “The discussion has intensified as a result of two recent mass shootings that shattered communities in New York and Texas.”

On March 17th, an 18-year-old shooter armed with a rifle of the AR-15-style and wearing body armor opened fire in a predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and wounding three others. All but two of the victims were black, in what has been described as a racially motivated assault.

Just ten days later, another 18-year-old entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas where he shot and killed 19 children and two adult teachers indiscrimitively.

It was reported that an off-duty Border Patrol agent shot and killed the gunman after rushing to the scene of the crime while police lagged in their response to the shooting spree.

After the shooting, Democrats and some Republicans have sought new gun control legislation. However, such legislation would likely be difficult to pass in the 50-50 Senate, where it would need to have the support of 10 Republican senators to override the filibuster threshold of 60 votes for legislation to move forward.

The Hill reported:

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in the pending New York case seems prepared to pick up where it left off more than a decade ago.

In the court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the court ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. Although the court in the Heller case noted that the Second Amendment right is “not unlimited,” the justices largely left unanswered the question of which gun restrictions are permitted under the Constitution.

According to Joseph Blocher, a Duke Law professor who co-directs the Duke Center for Firearms Law, the case could prove to be a game-changer.

“I do think that this case will, more than Heller did, tell us what forms of gun regulation are constitutional and why,” he said.

Applicants for concealed carry licenses in the state of New York are required to be able to show that they have some type of special need for the license other than just for basic self-defense.

New York’s strict licensing requirements have made the state one of eight states in total, along with the District of Columbia, that gives license officials wide discretion to make their own decisions in this area.

Despite the Biden administration’s arguments for the law, the conservative majority on the high court appeared skeptical that the law passes constitutional muster.

“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,” Blocher told The Hill.

“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,” he added.

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