U.S. Supreme Court Passes on Hearing Second Amendment Cases

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posted on June 16, 2020
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Image credit: Cropped photo by Ted Eyton courtesy of Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0.

The U.S. Supreme Court passed on hearing 10 Second Amendment cases.

“The Bill of Rights specifically includes the right to keep and bear arms because self-defense is fundamental to the liberty of a free society. Today’s inaction continues to allow so-called gun safety politicians to trample on the freedom and security of law-abiding citizens. This fight is not over for the NRA,” said the NRA in a statement responding to the court’s inaction.

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, released a written dissent for one of the cases the Court declined to hear: Rogers v. Grewal. In it, they wrote, “[I]n several jurisdictions throughout the country, law-abiding citizens have been barred from exercising the fundamental right to bear arms because they cannot show that they have a ‘justifiable need’ or ‘good reason’ for doing so. One would think that such an onerous burden on a fundamental right would warrant this Court’s review.” Thomas’ dissent concluded by noting that the high court has had a “decade-long failure to protect the Second Amendment.”

The Rogers case, in which the NRA filed an amicus brief, dealt with New Jersey’s restrictions on the ability to carry a handgun. Specifically, it addressed New Jersey’s may-issue statute, which requires New Jersey residents to show a “justifiable need” or “good reason” when applying for a handgun carry permit, the only means by which New Jersey residents can lawfully bear arms in public for self-defense.

“Law-abiding citizens should not be required to prove they are in peril to receive the government’s permission to exercise a constitutionally protected right,” said the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Thomas also wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court “would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights….” Nevertheless, the U.S. Supreme Court “simply looks the other way” when “faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to pass on a host of Second Amendment cases comes after it recently chose to rule New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York moot just a few months ago. This was set to be the first significant case the high court had heard in a decade, but instead, the court chose to pass.

Other cases the court declined to hear involved challenges to carry laws in particular states, unconstitutional bans on commonly owned firearms, and a handful of others that all dealt with your right to keep and bear arms.

Already, a decade has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court has heard a major Second Amendment case—the most recent being McDonald v. Chicago (2010) and District of Columbia v. Heller (2008). The latter ruled that the Second Amendment does indeed protect and individual right, while the former confirmed that states and localities must also respect this right.

With their decision to deny certiorari to these Second Amendment cases, gun owners can only be left wondering when the nation’s high court will hear another.

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