Two somewhat similar perspectives in a pair of respected Capitol Hill news organs are taking a look at the post-Bruen world of Second Amendment clout, noting how the gun control movement is alarmed at the number of gun laws which now appear jeopardized, including the new carry permit law in New York State.
As reported Thursday in The Hill, New York’s law—hastily thrown together after its century-old “proper cause” requirement was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court—“is on shaky legal ground after a judge found these provisions violate the Second Amendment, though the ruling is paused while the case is appealed.”
“The ongoing court battle over New York’s gun control measure is just one part of a shifting legal landscape resulting from the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court’s expansion of the Second Amendment in a June ruling, which has led lower courts to block or strike down gun control measures at a dizzying pace,” The Hill observed.
Meanwhile, Roll Call weighed in, noting, “Federal judges have struck down gun restrictions in the months since a Supreme Court decision that expanded Second Amendment rights, and experts say there is likely more to come.”
Among Second Amendment proponents, the reaction seems to be a collective “That’s just too bad.”
The Hill report quotes Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law Prof. Jacob Charles, who told the newspaper, “In the immediate aftermath, we’ve got a half a dozen courts who are striking down laws based on this decision. I think it’s going to be shocking to people when we see the fallout from Bruen in the first six months.”
Roll Call, meanwhile, quotes University of New Haven law Prof. Michael Lawlor, who told the publication, “I think gun control advocates have to think twice about when they’re enacting laws, they have to have in the back of their mind that this may get to the Supreme Court and they want to have it as unassailable as possible.”
What comes through in both articles is the suggestion the Bruen ruling somehow “expanded” the Second Amendment. Among some gun rights activists, the high court has instead restored the Amendment to its rightful place while doing away with an infringement on the right to keep and bear arms; that is, a requirement to demonstrate some special need to exercise a constitutionally-protected right.
In the aftermath of Bruen, new life has been added to at least four pending cases—two involving bans on so-called “large capacity” magazines and one challenging a ban on so-called “assault weapons” in Maryland—and cases farther down in the appeals process could likely be affected.
Legal experts quoted in both articles suggest the Supreme Court will be forced by circumstances to revisit the Second Amendment again, sooner than later, to further define the parameters of what the amendment protects and what limitations it may allow. In the meantime, gun rights groups could be a busy bunch challenging restrictive gun laws all over the map, while gun prohibitionists may find themselves boxed in by the constitution.