While most American gun owners know that NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is at the tip of the spear when it comes to lobbying against legislative assaults on the Second Amendment, many are unaware of the countless hundreds of hours NRA-ILA devotes to another battleground: America’s judicial system.
NRA-ILA’s recent Spring Litigation Newsletter highlighted dozens of lawsuits in which the organization is involved, including four that seem especially critical at this point in the history of our republic.
ILA petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take two cases this term, and the high court actually decided to take one of them, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. In that important case, ILA is challenging New York’s requirement that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” to carry a firearm. Interestingly, 23 state attorneys general from around the nation filed an amicus brief in support of the petition.
“This requirement is regularly used to deprive ordinary Americans in the Empire State of their rights,” NRA-ILA wrote in the newsletter. “It has been over a decade since the Supreme Court ruled on a Second Amendment case. It’s hard to overstate how important this case is. This case has ramifications in not only New York, but throughout the entire country.”
ILA is also fighting in the courtroom to overturn magazine-capacity limits instituted in California in the case Duncan v. Becerra. That case involving California’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds has had more twists and turns than an Arkansas back road, with a state court declaring it unconstitutional. A year later, upon appeal, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled the law unconstitutional. Of course, the state appealed again, and an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit will be considering the case.
Such magazine limits are currently front and center among President Joe Biden’s (D) current gun-control proposals, and are supported by many anti-gunners in Congress; however, they have not proven to reduce violent crime when tried in the past.
Another interesting case with a heavy ILA presence is one concerning an Illinois city’s “assault weapons” ban. That state’s supreme court has decided to hear an ILA-backed challenge to Deerfield’s ban under the state’s preemption law.
“When Illinois adopted their preemption statute, they gave localities a limited window in which they could pass gun-control ordinances,” ILA wrote. “Deerfield failed to pass the challenged ordinance in that time period. While the court of appeals sided with Deerfield, ILA is greatly encouraged that the Illinois Supreme Court decided to hear the challenge, as it is commonly believed that they would not have taken the case if they were only going to affirm the decisions of the lower courts.”
Of course, the 1990s Clinton Gun Ban outlawed many of the same firearms. That federal law was allowed to sunset after 10 years, and a government study showed that it was not effective in reducing criminal violence.
In a fourth critical case, Mazahreh v. Grewal, ILA is targeting New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement for obtaining a concealed-carry permit. Current law requires law-abiding citizens who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights outside of their homes to prove that they have an “urgent necessity for self-protection” and that a “generalized fear … for personal safety” is not sufficient.
“This approach of determining who can exercise their rights is blatantly unconstitutional, and ILA is dedicated to ensuring that all Americans can defend themselves and their family, even outside of their home,” ILA stated in the newsletter.
The case was filed last December and NRA-ILA filed a motion for summary judgment in April. This case is similar to the New York one mentioned earlier that the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing later this year. Both states’ onerous restrictions on concealed carry are punitive to law-abiding gun owners and must be struck down.