By: Teresa Mull
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on its first major Second Amendment case in more than a decade.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen challenges New York State’s law that requires people seeking to carry a firearm outside his or her home to show “proper cause” for doing so.
The left-leaning Washington Post issued this headline following the first day of hearings: “Majority of Supreme Court appears to think N.Y. gun law is too restrictive.”
The National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR) reports in a message to supporters that so far, the proceedings have produced good news for gun owners:
Chief Justice Roberts, who is widely regarded at the weakest link for gun owners, actually sounded pro-gun during his line of questioning.
Anti-gun media outlets like Politico are raging at this Roberts quote:
“[T]he idea that you need a license to exercise the right [to bear arms], I think, is unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights.”
Wow. That sounds an awful lot like he’s arguing for Constitutional Carry (not needing a government permission slip to carry a gun) to me!
Even better, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, speaking of the problems with government officials giving permission to exercise rights, said:
“[T]hat’s just not how we do constitutional rights, where we allow basic blanket discretion to grant or deny something for all sorts of reasons.”
Based on that, it seems like the landmark pro-gun ruling we’re hoping for in this case is certainly a possibility.
The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) likewise issued a cautiously optimistic reaction to yesterday’s hearings.
“Today’s arguments reflected that all of the parties, including New York, agree that there is a Second Amendment right to bear arms outside the home,” Adam Kraut, FPC’s Senior Director of Legal Operations, said in a statement. “While the ultimate outcome is impossible to predict, some justices’ questions showed an acute interest in the proper test to be applied in Second Amendment challenges. FPC has consistently advocated for the Court to make clear not only that there is a fundamental right to bear arms in public, but that lower courts must apply Heller’s categorical test, based on the text of the Second Amendment as it is informed by history and tradition. FPC is fighting for the right to keep and bear arms in dozens of cases, and we will continue to aggressively litigate challenges to unconstitutional laws throughout the country.”
It is likely we won’t find out the court’s ruling until the spring, but in the meantime, it’s no sure thing. As NFGR notes, “We still have our work cut out for us.
If the Court gives us a middle-of-the-road ruling that dodges the real issue, there will be glaring loopholes the gun grabbers will seize upon.
And there’s still the possibility that – despite grilling the gun-grabbers today – Chief Justice Roberts could shock us all with an anti-gun ruling.
Learn more about NFGR and contribute to the cause here.
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.