Supreme Court agrees to hear major Second Amendment case

27 Avril, 2021, 00:19 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Gun control advocates at the Supreme Court
Credit AFP

Two years later in McDonald, the Court held that the 14th Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for the objective of self-defense applicable to the states.

In its brief to the court, the NRA-affiliated New York State Rifle & Pistol Association said that "perhaps the single most important unresolved Second Amendment question" since the court found an individual right to gun ownership "is whether the Second Amendment secures the individual right to bear arms for self-defense where confrontations often occur: outside the home".

In June, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, complained that rather than take on the constitutional issue, "the Court simply looks the other way".

Stylized as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett, the high profile case will determine whether a New York State law that makes it all-but impossible for a regular citizen to carry a gun outside their home-by way of a highly restrictive and stringent permitting process-is in violation of the Second Amendment. "We're confident that the court will tell NY and the other states that our Second Amendment right to defend ourselves is fundamental, and doesn't vanish when we leave our homes".

According to the gun control activist group the Giffords Law Center, 31 states now require residents to obtain a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon, with varying degrees of restrictions on those permits. If they prevail in front of the Supreme Court, it could upend concealed carry laws across the country. The law allows concealed-carry licenses "when proper cause exists" while banning the open carry of firearms entirely.

Appeal courts have upheld previous rulings against states that have limited public carrying of guns.

Barrett
Justice Amy Coney Barrett may expand gun rights Credit AFP

The is the first major petition on the Second Amendment to be considered since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The association contends that "the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment and this Court's binding precedents compel the conclusion that the Second Amendment does indeed secure that right". They decided they were not, first in D.C. and then in the several states, respectively.

Second Amendment supporters have been trying for more than a decade to get the High Court to weigh in on this issue. That case, not coincidentally brought by the same petitioners, was rendered moot following oral argument due to a change in the law so the court never issued an opinion.

The justices will take up an appeal by two gun owners and the NY affiliate of the NRA, an influential gun rights group closely aligned with Republicans, of a lower court ruling throwing out their challenge to the restrictions on concealed handguns outside the home. Clement also argued before the Court in the Heller and McDonald cases, and is regarded as one of the top litigators in the nation on this issue.

The gun club echoes those sentiments in their petition. Given both Heller and McDonald were 5-4 decisions, experts suspected that moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy and moderate-conservative Chief Justice John Roberts were the reasons gun-rights supporters did not have the votes to tackle this issue. New York does not recognize out-of-state concealed carry permits and in some counties comprising New York City, there is effectively no right to carry a firearm in public. As a result of decisions that failed to abide by this Court's precedents, tens of millions of citizens are being deprived of individual, fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

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