On Gun Laws, Barrett’s Philosophy Leaves Little Room for Public Safety

On Gun Laws, Barrett’s Philosophy Leaves Little Room for Public Safety

With President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to take Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, it looks like Second Amendment jurisprudence is in for a major revamp. Will a post-Ginsburg Court protect AR-15s? Will open carry become the law of the land? It’s hard to say — but probably no, to both. What’s more likely is that the court could change the way it decides Second Amendment cases. And this change could make it easier for courts to strike down gun regulations as unconstitutional. There is very little Supreme Court case law on the Second Amendment, because until 2008, the legal consensus was that it pertained to colonial-era militias. That changed with District of Columbia v. Heller , which invalidated Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns and interpreted the Constitution as guaranteeing an individual right to bear arms. In the process, the court left no instruction manual to lower courts on how to protect this newly acknowledged right. The late Justice Antonin Scalia’s Heller opinion clocks in at 64 pages, but nowhere in those pages does he say: “Here is the test you must use to figure out if a gun regulation violates the Second Amendment.” In the absence of specific marching orders from the Supreme Court, lower courts have fashioned their own test through which to run Second Amendment challenges. For now, the courts consider a local government’s justifications for enacting a gun regulation — for instance, public safety concerns. Many gun rights advocates […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.