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Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 02/01/2019 in Firearm News

SCOTUS Revisits Second Amendment Rights



SCOTUS Revisits Second Amendment Rights

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) plans to hear another gun rights case during the October session. A ruling should come in the spring. 

The argument says the Big Apple's restrictions on handguns and ownership of them is far too strict. "New York City prohibits its residents from possessing a handgun without a license, and the only license the City makes available to most residents allows its holder to possess her handgun only in her home or en route to one of seven shooting ranges within the city. The City thus bans its residents from transporting a handgun to any place outside city limits—even if the handgun is unloaded and locked in a container separate from its ammunition, and even if the owner seeks to transport it only to a second home for the core constitutionally protected purpose of self-defense, or to a more convenient out-of-city shooting range to hone its safe and effective use. The City asserts that its transport ban promotes public safety by limiting the presence of handguns on [a] city street," the petition says in part. 

The second amendment rights case is brought by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association



THE THREE POINTS

The decision will examine three points found in the Constitution. 

1) 2A - The Second Amendment guarantees the right to own firearms, a decision upheld in the Heller case in 2008 

2) Travel - The "right to travel" is part of the Fifth Amendment and 14th Amendment. The Fifth states in part, " nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The 14th also states, "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," but in this case makes the Constitutional provision explicitly apply to the various states. 

3) Commerce - The Commerce Clause gives the federal government the right "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." This clause is used pretty much any time Congress passes a law that affects US citizens. It has also been used in pollution cases because pollution crosses state lines. 

PREDICTIONS

Making predictions about a SCOTUS decision is about the same as predicting the weather a month ahead of time. However, this time it does appear the High Court is likely to come down on the side of gun owners. Writing from a leftist point of view in Slate magazine, Mark J. Stern says, "Now (Justice Anthony) Kennedy is gone, replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a gun-rights enthusiast who takes a breathtakingly expansive view of the Second Amendment. With a firmly pro-gun majority in place, the conservative justices finally seem ready to supercharge Heller."

The left's worries are echoed elsewhere. In The New Yorker, Amy Davidson Sorkin is in a panic when she writes, "It will also be the first opportunity for the Court’s newest member, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to begin building what promises to be a disastrous pro-gun legacy."

Others are less convinced. "Look, this looks like a slam-dunk case, and it needs to be heard. Is this the case that gun rights advocates have been waiting for, though? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, I can see how a ruling on this will impact other issues, like New Jersey’s refusal to honor federal law regarding the transportation of firearms through jurisdictions, but I just don’t see how it’ll be the grand slam we’ve all been waiting for," writes Tom Knighton for Bearing Arms.



BEEN A WHILE

It's been a while since the High Court agreed to hear a second amendment rights case. The most recent was McDonald v. the City of Chicago. In the 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that people are allowed to own a handgun for protection and this applies to the federal, state and local governments. This backs up the Heller decision.

Justice Clarence Thomas has urged the court to take up other guns rights cases. Justice Thomas sided with gun owners in the two previous cases when he sat on the bench. He has repeatedly called the Second Amendment a "Constitutional orphan" where the High Court is concerned.

The Justices have otherwise refused to hear cases over gun bans, magazine bans, waiting periods and more since then. The High Court gets more than 7,000 requests to hear cases each year. It takes less than 200 with the average being between 100 and 150.

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