Locked and Loaded: The Supreme Court Argument Appears To Confirm A Major Gun Rights Victory in the Making, by Jonathan Turley

It looks like the Supreme Court is going to come down on the side of the Second Amendment. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

We have been discussing (here and here and here) the Supreme Court challenge in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. (NYSRPA) v. Bruen, the first Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court in over ten years. Yesterday’s oral argument appeared to confirm the expectations in those columns on the likely reversal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a reinforcement of Second Amendment rights.

In 2008, the Supreme Court recognized the right to bear arms as an individual right in District of Columbia v. Heller. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states.

This case concerns concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts have upheld the New York law, but there are ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” New York wants to exercise discretion in deciding who needs to carry guns in public while gun owners believe that the law flips the constitutional presumption in favor of such a right.

The oral argument quickly confirmed the likely votes of five justices against the New York law. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh appeared clearly committed to a reversal as well as a possible expansion of protections for gun rights. Chief Justice John Roberts appeared committed to vote against the law but not necessarily on board with a significant expansion of protections from the earlier holdings of the Court.

The surprise of the argument came from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who wrote a strong Second Amendment opinion as an appellate judge.  Barrett appeared open to arguments that greater regulation of guns may be appropriate in cities or “sensitive places.”

As I wrote earlier, justices like Roberts could vote down the law but retain the view in Heller that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” That includes restrictions in “sensitive places.”

However, in one telling moment, Roberts noted that gun rights should be more expansive in cities to allow self-defense. After all, he asked New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, “How many muggings take place in the forest?”

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