Political Editors / May 11, 2021

In Brief: 3 Things to Know About SCOTUS Gun Case

As the Second Amendment returns to the highest court, here are key considerations.

“It’s been well over a decade since the Supreme Court last decided a meaningful Second Amendment case,” reports Amy Swearer of The Heritage Foundation. “That wait is about to end.” The Court recently agreed to hear New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Corlett, a case dealing with carrying a firearm outside the home.

Although District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) answered some foundational questions about the right to keep and bear arms, the Supreme Court’s decade of silence enabled lower courts to undermine these core cases routinely. This in turn allowed states to run roughshod over the Second Amendment.

Swearer explains that there are really three overarching things to know about the first big gun case headed to SCOTUS in over a decade.

  1. This case is about the right to carry firearms in public.

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett provides the Supreme Court with the opportunity to address a very important question it so far has declined to answer: When the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, does it mean a right to bear a handgun in public for purposes of self-defense?

According to New York and a handful of other gun control-friendly states, the answer has been a resounding no. In these states, the right to “bear” arms has been effectively restricted to a right to possess and handle a gun in your home, and nothing more. …

  1. ‘Good cause’ and ‘may issue’ requirements have racist roots.

For the first 70 or so years after the Constitution was ratified, Americans undeniably maintained a general right to bear arms in public, with perhaps some state authority to regulate the mode of carry.

A minority of states eventually prohibited or heavily regulated the act of carrying a concealed firearm in public. But no state completely eradicated an ordinary citizen’s ability to carry some type of firearm in public in some manner without first having to seek permission from the government.

Well, all white Americans enjoyed a right to bear arms in public. …

Even after slavery was abolished and the 14th Amendment forbade race-based gun restrictions, many southern states looked to racially neutral but highly discretionary gun control laws to effectively disarm black citizens. …

  1. Public carry will not turn us into the ‘Wild West.’

Many gun control advocates insist that if the Supreme Court strikes down “good cause” requirements then the nation will be turned into a “Wild West” of gun violence. In other words, the Second Amendment shouldn’t protect a right of ordinary citizens to bear arms in their own defense, because ordinary citizens largely are incapable of acting in a reasonable manner when armed in public.

Decades of plain data show just the opposite.

She concludes, “Hopefully, the Supreme Court soon will vindicate the tens of millions of American citizens currently deemed to have ‘insufficient cause’ to exercise their constitutional rights.”

Read the whole thing here.

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