OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued one of its most significant pro-Second Amendment decisions in nearly two decades last summer when justices ruled 6-3 that New York’s concealed carry law was unconstitutionally restrictive.
The ruling, experts say, is significant because it means similarly restrictive concealed carry laws, limited primarily to blue states, are also likely to be successfully challenged.
“This decision is a big deal,” FiveThirtyEight noted in the wake of the ruling. “Previously, the court had only said that the Constitution protected the ability to have a gun inside the home for self-defense. In that decision, which came down in 2008, the justices didn’t rule on how guns carried outside the home could be regulated. It took almost 15 years for the justices to come back to that question, but now they have.”
The Second Amendment “protect[s] an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion for Thursday’s ruling. As such, FiveThirtyEight continued, statues like the one in New York, “which required people who wanted a license to carry a concealed handgun in public to show they have a good reason, are no longer allowed.”
Now, Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to codify the Supreme Court’s 2022 landmark ruling protecting the Second Amendment right to self-defense.
“The legislation, backed by all GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would codify the high court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The 6-3 decision, issued last June, was authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, who said New York’s gun-licensing requirement that a person must show proper need to carry a firearm ran afoul of the Second Amendment right to self-defense,” the Washington Times reported.
Senate Republicans want to codify the ruling to ensure that any future Supreme Court cases would struggle with changes or reversals.
“We have a Bill of Rights and it is not an a la carte menu. Every right as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court matters,” said Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican.
“With this bill, we are ensuring that the rights affirmed by the Supreme Court are part of the federal code — and preventing a future Supreme Court from reversing this decision. The Respect for the Second Amendment Act will memorialize the holdings in these landmark Supreme Court cases and provide further protection to the Second Amendment,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.
In February, a federal appeals court struck down a measure banning the possession of a firearm by anyone under a court order for domestic violence, such as stalking, harassing, or threatening an intimate partner.
“I can’t square that decision with the actual danger that women and police officers face from armed domestic abusers, and I don’t believe the founders of our nation would want courts to ignore this danger when applying the Constitution they wrote,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, on Wednesday.
“The chaos the Bruen decision has caused is predictable,” he added.
In California, meanwhile, a statute bans all magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds; a panel of 11 judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled 7-4 to uphold the ban.
Also, the justices remanded another case from Maryland back to an appeals court that challenged that state’s ban on 45 types of so-called “assault” weapons. In 2017, the Supreme Court had turned away a previous challenge to that law.
“Thomas’s opinion states regulations need to be historically consistent with the Second Amendment,” FiveThirtyEight’s analysis noted.
“That means when they look at a modern gun regulation, judges will have to figure out if another, reasonably similar law was passed earlier in the country’s history. Previously, courts had also considered whether a regulation could be justified for other reasons, but that second layer of consideration is no longer allowed,” the site continued.