SCOTUS to rule in key Second Amendment case as gun control debate rages anew

With the debate over gun control raging anew in the aftermath of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas in recent weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to issue a ruling in a case with significant Second Amendment ramifications for the first time in over ten years, and the outcome may well leave the left reeling and conservatives smiling, as The Hill reports.

At issue in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen is whether a state government’s refusal to approve applications for concealed-carry weapons licenses for purposes of self defense stood in violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Court watchers appear to expect the justices to strike down New York’s handgun licensing law, but it remains unclear just how far-reaching the ultimate ruling may be in terms of answering broader questions on a citizen’s right to carry guns outside the home.

Adam Winkler of the UCLA School of Law said of the impending ruling, “It does seem relatively clear that the court is going to strike down New York’s law and make it harder for cities and states to restrict concealed carry of firearms.”

Surely adding to the anxiety felt by Democrats who have amplified their calls for stricter gun control in the wake of recent tragedies, Winkler added, “…one thing is clear: as mass shootings become more of a political issue, the court is going to take options away from lawmakers on the basis of the Second Amendment.”

Duke University law professor Joseph Blocher echoed Winkler’s sentiment that the outcome in the New York case will have massive ripple effects, saying that it could even have more of an impact than the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the ruling in which infuriated liberals in that it found that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to maintain a gun in the home for purposes of self-defense.

“I do think that this case will, more than Heller did, tell us what forms of gun regulation are constitutional and why,” Blocher opined.

In the New York case, the Biden Justice Department argued in support of the state’s restrictions on concealed carry licenses, and asked the justices to defer to legislative prerogatives when it comes to placing limits on firearms in the interest of public safety and allow the Empire State to require applicants to show “proper cause” for obtaining a permit.

During oral arguments in the case, however, attorney Paul Clement skillfully noted that the Second Amendment’s text plainly affords citizens the right to bear arms, the right to carry a weapon for self-defense is a long-established tradition in this country, and indeed, the entire point of a constitutional right is that there is no obligation to persuade the government of any “good reason” for its exercise.