Thursday, June 23, 2022, is a day that will go down in Second Amendment history as the day that Justice Clarence Thomas knocked over the Leaning Tower of BS Gun Laws. While we will not know the full extent of what the ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen means for a while, it not only eliminated “May Issue” laws on Conceal Carry Permits, it blew a .50 Caliber hole in the NFA.
When Brandon Koch and Robert Nash sued the State of New York over its refusal to issue them CCW, they had no idea that their case would open the door to the systematic dismantling of federal gun control laws.
On Thursday, in a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court overturned the New York law on the grounds that it violates an individual’s right to bear arms in public for self-defense. In D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, the Court held that the “Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.” (NYPSA v Bruen) They ruled in Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s conduct with a firearm when it is covered by plain text. More importantly, any federal law must be consistent with the country’s historical traditions of firearm regulation. In their opinion, in Bruen, they ruled that New York law, and thus “May Issue” laws in the rest of the country, violated this standard.
Effectively, this means that “Shall Issue” has become the law of the land, and California, Hawaii, New York, and the others must now fall in line with it. This is a massive victory for the Second Amendment and the American people. Initially, this was the main takeaway from the ruling that everyone focused on.
The true victory came when Justice Thomas addressed the currently used “two-step” framework for Second Amendment legislation. Step one is analyzing the proposed legislation based on the text of the Constitution and the historical context surrounding the Bill of Rights. If the legislation violates this, it moves on to the second step, known as “means-end scrutiny.” This served as a way to say, “Yeah, the Founders might not have liked it, but the current situation today means that the regulation would prevent broader harm to the general public.” In other words: any legislation the gun-grabbers wanted was justified.
Justice Thomas eviscerated this, saying that the two-step framework is “one step too many,” meaning all current gun regulations will now have to pass the scrutiny of history only. Strict scrutiny, which is used to justify many of today’s most draconian gun laws, is gone. In its place is a pathway towards re-establishing the God-given right of the American people to protect themselves however they deem fit.
While some may have wanted the Court to outright end the blatant infringements that the National Firearms Act and its successors represent, they are refusing to act as legislators. Unlike Liberal Activist Judges, they know it is the responsibility of the people to bring the cases before them to establish a precedent. This means that while these infringements still stand now, they won’t be on the books much longer.
The dissents by the Activists are alarming, as they refuse even to apply the Constitution, choosing instead to rely on bogus statistics provided by the dishonest gun lobby. Justice Alito took the opportunity to dispute, and annihilate, these dissents. But that will require a more in-depth discussion to truly unpack.
As I was writing this article, the Supreme Court took a significant first step in addressing the most immediate Second Amendment issues. On Thursday, June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court vacated four recent rulings issued by Appellate Courts that focused on “assault weapon” bans, standard capacity magazine bans, and public carry. The Supreme Court ordered the lower courts to re-evaluate their previous rulings on the four cases with the new Bruen opinion as to the basis.
The rulings by the Appellate Courts were made almost entirely with means-end scrutiny, which means that they will be hard-pressed to justify their original opinions. The magazine bans were made by the 9th District in California, and the 3rd District in New Jersey, two of the most stringent anti-gun states in the country. Their bans meant that magazine capacities above ten rounds were illegal, mainly because of the potential large magazines have to impact the general public. Seeing as how the Supreme Court ruled that gun restrictions can only be considered from the perspective of the individual, the historical context, and the plain text of the Second Amendment, justifying the bans based on their impact on the general public will require blatant disregard for the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The “assault weapons” ban enacted by Maryland was upheld by the 4th District Court of Appeals. The reasoning behind this one, similar to the magazine ban, is almost entirely based on assault weapons’ impact on the general public. Once again, using the parameters set forth by the Supreme Court, it appears that only ideologues would be able to justify upholding it. Based on history alone, only a moron would think the Founding Fathers would be okay with banning so-called “assault weapons.”
The final ruling vacated was Hawaii’s “may-issue” standards that are strikingly similar to New York’s. This one, also ruled by the 9th District, held that the right to keep and bear arms does not guarantee an “unfettered, general right to openly carry arms in public for individual self-defense.” There is no way this will remain the opinion of the 9th District Court of Appeals, as the Bruen case expressly said the opposite. Any attempt to uphold it will be viewed as the 9th District going rogue and undermining the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is clearly trying to avoid making the same mistake the Court made when ruling on Roe v. Wade, where they outright declared rights and acted as a legislative body in saying there is a right to abortion. I believe they want to establish Constitutional Carry, but they will do so correctly by striking down the laws standing in the way and setting an undeniable precedent. It will be a slow process, but they appear to be fast-tracking the most important cases for the current political climate in America.
Ultimately, we have plenty to be happy about and more optimistic about. But, it will not happen overnight. Therefore, patience is required, and persistence is demanded if we are to successfully re-establish our God-given, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms as the Founders intended.