CBS Report Details ‘Bruen’ Impact on Restrictive Gun Control Schemes
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- A lengthy CBS News report on the impact of last summer’s Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen indicates lingering angst among gun control proponents now faced with the daunting challenge of justifying restrictive gun laws when they may not be “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
In the first paragraph, CBS acknowledges, “the new legal test laid out by Justice Clarence Thomas in his majority opinion has reshaped the legal landscape for firearms laws and led to uncertainty over whether measures that aim to curb gun violence can survive legal scrutiny.”
The recent litigation history of just one organization—the Second Amendment Foundation—adequately confirms the CBS statement. In just the past several days:
- SAF filed a federal lawsuit challenging the recently-signed Illinois gun ban legislation, alleging it to be unconstitutional and asserting the state has criminalized “a common and important means of self-defense.” The case is known as Harrel v. Raoul.
- SAF filed an amended complaint in its challenge of New Jersey’s revised gun permit law, adding one plaintiff and expanding its scope on so-called “sensitive places.” The case is now known as Koons v. Platkin. The case was previously known as Koons v. Reynolds. SAF was already granted a temporary restraining order by U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden in that case.
- SAF and its partners in a federal case challenging the federal prohibition on handgun sales to young adults ages 18-20 filed a reply brief supporting their motion for summary judgment in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. SAF is joined in this case by the West Virginia Citizens Defense League and two private citizens Benjamin Weekley and Steven Brown. The case is known as Brown v. ATF.
The CBS report accurately explains the full impact of the high court’s June 2022 ruling, authored by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, noting, “the government is required to show that the measure is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of gun regulation.”
In his majority opinion, Thomas wrote, “We hold that when the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. To justify its regulation, the government may not simply posit that the regulation promotes an important interest. Rather, the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
But right at the end of his 63-page dissertation, which CBS suggests has left anti-gun politicians and their gun prohibitionist supporters reeling, Thomas made another observation that should be required reading for lawmakers from Albany, N.Y. to Sacramento, Calif.
“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.’ We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”
What CBS seems to believe is a significant problem is viewed by grassroots gun rights activists as the battle line of a fight that has been a long time coming. The scramble by anti-gun administrations and legislatures in New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, and Washington—and elsewhere—to craft new laws in an effort to get around the Bruen doctrine has only ignited new legal challenges.
“But the new requirements,” CBS notes, “have been swiftly met with a flood of lawsuits from gun rights organizations and firearms owners who argue they do not pass constitutional muster under the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision. And federal judges navigating the changed legal landscape have cited the June ruling in their own decisions, many blocking enforcement of the gun laws.”
Still, when Joe Biden made his State of the Union address, he renewed his demand for Congress to ban so-called “assault weapons.” And in typical Biden fashion, he couldn’t even do that properly.
During his State of the Union Address, Joe Biden screams, “BAND(sic) ASSAULT WEAPONS NOW!”
Joe is talking about commonly owned semi-automatic rifles used by millions of law-abiding citizens for self-defense. pic.twitter.com/8INuiopgGo
— AmmoLand News (@AmmoLand) February 8, 2023
Leading up to his gun control “moment,” the president called attention to the presence of 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, the young man who heroically disarmed the Lunar New Year killer last month in Monterey Park, Calif. The gunman was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but Tsay wrestled a handgun away from him in a confrontation captured on a security camera.
But Biden ignored his own remark—“He found the courage to act and wrestled the semi-automatic pistol away from a gunman..”—and immediately observed, “He saved lives. It’s time we do the same as well. Ban assault weapons once and for all.” The Monterey Park incident did not involve a semi-auto rifle.
Apparently, nobody invited another hero who stopped a killer not long ago. Elisjsha Dicken, the young armed citizen who fatally shot a would-be mass shooter at the Greenwood Park, Indiana, shopping mall, was nowhere to be seen. In that case, the attacker was armed with a rifle.
Biden’s hoped-for rifle ban is not likely to go anywhere, thanks to a Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
But there is also something else now standing in the president’s way, and it is the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling now causing chaos in the lower courts, according to the CBS report.
One of the cases granted certiorari (review) by the high court last June, one week after the Bruen ruling was handed down, was Bianchi v. Frosh, yet another case brought by SAF and other entities, including the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. This case challenges the “assault weapons” ban in Maryland.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is now faced with a challenge that could wind up right back before the Supreme Court, which could ultimately end with a ruling that says modern semi-auto rifles are protected by the Second Amendment. It would devastate the gun prohibition lobby.
Faced with that possibility, Congress is not likely to ban anything, leaving Biden and his anti-gun allies frustrated, while gun rights organizations, including SAF and CCRKBA continue using the Bruen doctrine to push back against restrictive gun control laws, which history may ultimately show should never have been passed in the first place.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.