While waiting for the Senate to take up four gun control measures, The Shooter’s Log must sadly report another loss for the Second Amendment. Today, June 20, 2016, the Supreme Court declined to take up a constitutional challenge to a Connecticut gun law passed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The bans affects both semi-automatic firearms and magazines.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms. Other than a follow-up decision a couple of years later, the court has not had cause to reconsider the matter. Today, the court again refused to take up the matter, instead, letting the lower court’s ruling stand. While it is logical to call this a loss, you could make a case that it is a push or potentially only a temporary setback.
By refusing to weigh in in the case, the lower court’s ruling stands. That is a loss or setback—whatever you want to call it. However, given the makeup of the court, a decision would not have likely been favorable to the pro Second Amendment community. So, this could give us a second bite at the apple with a future court—hopefully a court that does not have new, anti-gun judges appointed to it—but that would require a new lawsuit and challenge. That fact has anti-gun groups coming out very vocal and reveling at the news.
Jonathan Lowy, director of the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said, “The Supreme Court’s decision to let stand Connecticut’s assault weapons restrictions, is just the latest indication that Courts almost universally recognize that common sense life-saving gun laws are fully compatible with the Second Amendment.
“The fact that Connecticut chose to restrict assault weapons like the ones used in the Orlando and Sandy Hook mass shootings was both reasonable and constitutional.” In court briefs, State Attorney General George Jepsen claimed the law was written to restrict access “to firearms that are owned by a small percentage of gun owners and are disproportionately used in gun crime, particularly the most heinous forms of gun violence.” However, he failed to show any actual numbers to back up that fact that semi-auto long guns or “high capacity” magazines are used disproportionately in furtherance of the majority crime, instead citing statistics from Sandy Hook.
The plaintiffs in Shew v. Malloy, had, of course, hoped the Supreme Court would step in to clarify the Heller decision in our favor. In Scott Wilson Sr., president of the Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League’s statement, he noted that it fully intends “to renew our challenge to Connecticut’s blatantly unconstitutional ban as soon as there are five Justices sitting on the Supreme Court committed to the proper understanding of the Second Amendment.” His chances of success are considered a long shot, but not impossible.
How will this affect your state? Will other states follow in Connecticut’s footsteps? What have you done to ensure the future of the Second Amendment as we know it? Share your responses in the comment section.