Wednesday, August 10, 2022

What does the Supreme Court’s new decision on the right to bear arms mean?

(Nation World News) — Judge Clarence Thomas opened the door to challenging gun safety laws of all kinds in federal court.

The Supreme Court’s decision (6-3) to ban the carrying of one type of gun that only applies in six states would have the effect of sensitizing all types of regulations across the country to new legal challenges.

Thomas modified the test that courts must use when analyzing the constitutionality of such rules.

Only firearms regulations that are “consistent with the historical tradition of this nation” meet Second Amendment protections, he wrote in a statement, which jeopardizes any sanctions that do not have a historical parallel with the founding of the nation.

This new rule will change the legal playing field of arms-carrying laws.

Cases are already underway where courts will now adjust their approach and raise the threshold that governments must cross to maintain their gun safety laws. The decision is also likely to launch a series of new legal challenges, as gun rights advocates will now be able to make more aggressive arguments to justify lifting the ban.

What is at stake is not just public law, like the New York rule, which is in the hands of the court. Nearly every other type of gun regulation, including age-based regulations, restrictions on certain types of firearms, and limits on high-capacity magazines, will now be more rigorously scrutinized by the courts.

old exam vs new

As a result of the case District of Columbia Vs. Heller, in a landmark 2008 decision in which the Supreme Court established that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to bear arms, appellate courts across the country collaborated around a two-step legal approach to review the constitutionality of a weapons regulation. has done.

Lower courts have previously examined whether regulated activity falls within the scope of conduct protected by the Second Amendment. If so, they have assessed whether the means of regulation justify its objectives.

“Despite the popularity of this two-step approach, it is one step too much,” Thomas wrote Thursday, describing the second step as inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s precedent on gun rights.

“Instead, the government should show positively that firearms regulation is part of a historical tradition that delineates the outer limits of the right to own and keep arms,” ​​Thomas said.

Courts, Thomas said, “must evaluate whether modern firearms regulations are consistent with the text and historical understanding of the Second Amendment.”

For example, he wrote, if a gun law addresses a social problem that existed even in the 18th century, it is proof that modern law is unconstitutional if there were no uniform regulation then. Similarly, he said, if that social problem was historically addressed before a court using a different type of regulation, that is also evidence that modern law is unconstitutional.

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“When faced with current firearms regulations of this type, this landmark investigation for the courts often involves reasoning by analogy, a common task for any lawyer or judge. Like all analogous arguments, it is to determine Whether the historical regulation is a uniquely appropriate analog of modern firearms regulation is needed to determine whether the two regulations are ‘relevant and similar,'” Thomas wrote.

What’s in danger the ruling

Thursday’s ruling means any type of gun law deemed constitutional by a court must be consistent with how firearms were historically regulated.

This means that states and territories will be in legal trouble whenever they attempt to enact a gun law that has no historical parallel, especially if the problem the law is trying to solve has probably existed for generations. .

The analysis will apply to gun law cases that have already been appealed to the Supreme Court, including challenging California’s ban on magazines of more than 10 cartridges, Maryland’s assault ban, and a federal ban on automatic gunsmiths. . Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under former President Donald Trump. The high court may choose to take those cases, or it may refer them back to lower courts with directions that the laws be re-examined under Thursday’s ruling.

New York’s decision will also affect what happens in the case of California, in which a conservative-leaning 9th Circuit panel placed a state ban on people under the age of 21 from purchasing certain semi-automatic weapons.

It could also have implications for the federal gun safety package Congress is about to pass, and when those modest gun safety measures are challenged in court.

And a whole slew of laws that have been around for a long time could face new demands reinforced by new and less liberal testing of conservative justices. The New York law was in effect for more than 100 years before the Supreme Court struck it down.

Ban on ‘sensitive places’

Thomas’s opinion touched on how courts might consider a form of restraint: a ban on bringing firearms into sensitive places, as proponents of the New York law noted that this was a concern that prompted a public outcry. Driven to their limits.

Although the historical record finds relatively few 18th and 19th century “sensitive places” in which guns were outright banned, for example, assemblies, electoral colleges and courthouses, we are not aware of any dispute over the legality of such restrictions. Huh. , “he said. Thomas: “Therefore, we can assume that these places were ‘sensitive places’ where the carrying of weapons could be banned under the Second Amendment.”

But “sensitive space” rules that go beyond those historical analogies could be constitutionally problematic, Thomas’ view suggested.

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“It is true that people sometimes congregate in ‘sensitive places,’ and it is equally true that law enforcement professionals are often available in those places,” Thomas said. “But expanding the category of ‘sensitive places’ to include all places of public gathering that are not separate from law enforcement defines the category of ‘sensitive places’ broadly.”

Thomas’s opinion also declined to resolve the “academic debate” as to whether, given the historical context surrounding modern gun laws, courts should look to 1791, the birth date of the Second Amendment, or 1868, when the 14th The amendment was ratified. In a personal concurrence, Judge Amy Connie Barrett ruled in favor of an earlier date, noting that Thursday’s “decision was a historical exercise from the mid to late 19th century in establishing the original meaning of the authority letter.” should not be construed as an endorsement of the .

Liberals say the new test will allow judges to “dress” their political preferences with “history.”

Justice Stephen Breuer disagreed with other liberals, saying that the “history-based approach” is legally flawed and fraught with “practical problems”.

“Laws dealing with repeating crossbows, spears, daggers, Scotch daggers, ‘stillders’ and other ancient weapons would be of little help to the courts in dealing with modern problems,” Breuer wrote. “And as technological advances push our society beyond the limits of what the framers of the Constitution envisioned, attempts at ‘analog reasoning’ become more twisted. In short, a rule based only on history, is it unfair? and is unforgivable”.

Breuer called Thomas’s opinion “profoundly impractical”.

“This imposes a task on lower courts that judges cannot easily fulfill,” Breuer wrote.

“The court’s insistence that judges and attorneys rely almost exclusively on history to interpret the Second Amendment therefore raises a number of troubling issues,” Breuer said, noting investigative resources such as How judges will choose which historians to trust, and what courts should do with new advances in historical research.

“And, more importantly, will the Court’s approach allow judges to come up with the results they prefer and then wrap them in the language of history?” Breyer wrote.

Most, he said, give judges license to reject certain evidence allowing them to “choose their friends from the multitude of history.”

Breuer notes that at the time of the nation’s founding, even the nation’s largest cities, such as New York, had a much smaller population than today, while most Americans lived on farms or in small towns.

Addressing Thomas’ examples of historically consistent “sensitive venues”, Breuer asked what this meant for “subways, clubs, movie theaters and sports arenas”.

“The Court does not say so,” Breuer wrote.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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