U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- As the Nov, 3 date for oral arguments in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen looms, Reason magazine is highlighting one of the many amicus briefs filed in support of the case, not only because it comes from “a coalition of public defense lawyer organizations,” but because it cuts to the bone of racial and ethnic discrimination at the root of New York’s firearm licensing requirements.
The 35-page brief, which may be read here, comes from the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid, the Bronx Defenders, and Brooklyn Defender Services, and more than a half-dozen New York county public defender offices. They waste no time getting to the point.
Arguing the state’s licensing requirements are unconstitutional, the brief observes, “They allow New York to deny Second Amendment rights to thousands of people, and to instead police and criminalize them for exercising those rights. Such a policy is the type that ‘the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes . . . off the table’,” quoting the 2008 Heller ruling.
Writing at Reason, Senior Editor Damon Root observes, “It’s possible that such arguments will resonate with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Court’s leading critic of over-policing and related law enforcement abuses. As the public defenders make abundantly clear in their brief, a Supreme Court decision against New York’s gun control scheme would be a victory not only for the Second Amendment but for criminal justice reform too.”
The brief includes accounts of people whose lives have been turned upside down because of heavy-handed and narrow-minded enforcement of the state’s gun laws.
The importance of this case cannot be overstated. In an article at The Trace—a pro-gun control news organ—Jennifer Mascia quotes law professor Adam Winkler, University of California, Los Angeles, who explains, “This is one of the great questions: Does the Second Amendment extend outside the home, and if so, what kind of permitting is allowed for concealed carry?”
Perhaps Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, already answered that question some weeks ago when he announced SAF has filed its own amicus brief, which is joined by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Illinois State Rifle Association, Florida Carry, Inc., Grass Roots North Carolina, Louisiana Shooting Association, Tennessee Firearms Association, Maryland Shall Issue, Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education, and Virginia Citizens Defense League.
“A right limited to someone’s home is no right at all,” Gottlieb stated, “and the court now has an opportunity to make that abundantly clear, settling an important constitutional issue once and for all.”
He pointed to the language of the Second Amendment, which clearly states the people not only have a right to “keep” arms, but to “bear” them, and that certainly must extend “beyond the confines of one’s home.”
The NYSR&PA case has brought together an interesting combination of supporters, making it impossible for the gun prohibition lobby or the radical left to pigeonhole this coalition as merely a bunch of right-wing groups.
And The Trace is careful to hedge about the potential outcomes of the case, offering different scenarios.
The story quotes Prof. Eric Ruben at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, who explained that a broad ruling, striking down discretionary “may issue” permitting schemes, “would say that modern-day gun problems are irrelevant when trying to decide whether or not a law is constitutional.”
The Trace believes it is “unlikely” the high court will simply uphold New York’s law, a notion that would make no sense, because if the court had that intention, it would not likely have taken the case at all, but simply declined review and allow the New York law to remain in place.
A rights-affirmative ruling would jeopardize similar gun control laws in seven other states, everyone seems to agree. But as Winkler told The Trace, “Most of the states are not going to simply just say, ‘The Supreme Court struck down a similar law, let’s just give up on our concealed carry policies. So they’re going to force people to file lawsuits. I imagine those states are likely to fight until the bitter end.”
Such is the stubborn nature of the gun control mindset. Anti-gunners never acknowledge their gun control schemes have failed, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Instead, they simply push for more restrictions.
It is not likely the court will hand down a ruling until late next June. Traditionally, the court holds its most controversial decisions until the final days of its session. This one is guaranteed to be controversial.
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