Constitution Check: Are Gun Rights Withering Away?

Posted: June 11, 2015 in Politics


Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, looks at the Supreme Court’s decision to deny a test case from gun owners in San Francisco.

Patrick Oster for Bloomberg News, wrote:

The dire warnings that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition of an individual right to bear arms would lead to a wholesale voiding of gun-control law seem to have been overblown. The most recent case in point: the Justices on Monday declined to review a San Francisco gun law that was remarkably similar to one they struck down in a landmark ruling in 2008 [District of Columbia v. Heller]….To be fair, the Heller ruling did contain some caveats that some people might have paid more attention to…Turns out most gun laws fit within these categories. But arguably not San Francisco’s, so if that law didn’t get voided by the Justices, what else is left of Heller?

The challengers to that ordinance reminded the Justices that, in the Heller decision, the court had ruled that – within the home – an individual had a right to have the gun in a condition that would allow its immediate use in case of an emergency. Surely, their lawyers argued, the San Francisco ordinance could not be reconciled with that part of the Heller decision.

The Supreme Court, following its now well-established pattern, simply denied review of that case on Monday. The appeal drew the publicly noted support of only two members of the court – Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a dissent joined by Justice Antonin Scalia. It would have taken the votes of four Justices to grant review. Failing to get that number, the appeal was denied, and the San Francisco ordinance was left untouched, with no explanation from the court.

Whatever the reason for remaining on the sidelines, the court has left the Second Amendment in what almost certainly is a diminished state – at least for the time being.

Full Story @ [The National Constitution Center]


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