The injurious ruling of the Supreme Court on guns

December 1, 2022 • 12:30 pm

I didn’t really follow the Supreme Court case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, but the 2022 case was settled in favor of less restrictive gun laws—and by a vote of 6-3 (ruling here), with the dissenters being Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.  Here’s the Wikipedia summary that brought me up to speed:

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U.S. ___ (2022), abbreviated NYSRPA v. Bruen and also known as NYSRPA II or Bruen to distinguish it from the 2020 case, is a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court related to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case concerned the constitutionality of the 1911 Sullivan Act, a New York State law requiring applicants for an unrestricted license to carry a concealed pistol on their person to show “proper cause”, or a special need distinguishable from the general public, in their application.

In a 6–3 decision, the majority ruled that New York’s law was unconstitutional, and ruled that the ability to carry a pistol in public was a constitutional right under the Second Amendment. The majority ruled that states are allowed to enforce “shall-issue” permitting, where applicants for concealed carry permits must satisfy certain objective criteria, such as passing a background check, but that “may-issue” systems that utilize “arbitrary” evaluations of need made by local authorities are unconstitutional.

Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion, which rested a semi-“originalist” decision that the Sullivan Act violated on the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. First, the Amendments:


“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Relevant bits of the Fourteenth (section 1):

… No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Thomas interpreted these in two ways. The Second Amendment allows people to keep and bear arms, and the Fourteenth Amendment says that states can’t infringe on the Constitutional right to do so, i.e., it can’t make unreasonably restrictive gun laws. At least that’s what I get from this part of Thomas’s decision in the case.

The burden then falls on respondents to show that New York’s proper-cause requirement is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. To do so, respondents appeal to a variety of historical sources from the late 1200s to the early 1900s. But when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, not all history is created equal. “Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them.” Heller, 554 U. S., at 634–635. The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791; the Fourteenth in 1868. Historical evidence that long predates or postdates either time may not illuminate the scope of the right. With these principles in mind, the Court concludes that respondents have failed to meet their burden to identify an American tradition justifying New York’s proper-cause requirement.

Steven Lubet, the Williams Memorial Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus, Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy at Northwestern University’s School of Law, has a new article in The Hill about this decision, which he claims is promoting a “homicide pact”. Click to read:

Thomas really does seem gun-crazy; as Lubet notes, he’s been pushing a decision like this for years. Here’s some of the fallout (quotes from Lubet indented):

It looks as though there will be no end to the fallout from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen holding that gun control regulations are “presumptively” unconstitutional unless they are sufficiently “analogous” to a 19th century law. The Court’s requirement of a close historical comparator has turned out to be almost impossible to satisfy, causing lower courts to invalidate or question otherwise reasonable laws prohibiting the obliteration of guns’ serial numbers and firearm possession by convicted felons or domestic abusers.

Most recently, a judge held that the absence of a “historical tradition of sufficiently analogous regulations” limited New York’s ability to restrict bringing concealed weapons onto others’ private property.

Lubet brings up the issue of mass shootings, often with legally obtained guns, that now seem to happen a couple of times per week:

It did not have to be that way. In 2008, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an “individual right” to possess firearms. Two years later, the Court made it clear that the right to “keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense” is applicable to the states as well as the federal government.

Those decisions still left the scope of the Second Amendment right to be determined. In other circumstances, even fundamental constitutional rights may be subject to valid limitations when the government can currently demonstrate a sufficiently “compelling interest” to survive “strict scrutiny.”

A similar approach to the Second Amendment would have allowed lower courts to at least consider the value of existing firearms laws in relation to the constraints they impose on gun owners. But even that modest evaluation has been foreclosed by the Supreme Court’s command, as one judge put it, “that a gun regulation’s constitutionality hinge solely on the historical inquiry [as the] only consideration.”

The Court’s embrace of an exclusively historical method of constitutional review represented an ideological triumph for Justice Thomas, who had been pushing for it in a series of dissenting opinions for years.

I’ve always disliked a hard-nosed kind of “originalism” as espoused by Scalia (and now by his right-wing pal Thomas), for times have changed so much since the late 18th century that it’s impossible to tell what those who wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights would think about issues that didn’t exist then. For example, in 1995 Garry Wills made a convincing case (at least to me) that the Second Amendment was indeed there to allow militias but not private citizens like Lauren Boebert to pack heat in public, much less pack it concealed and without much scrutiny for a license.

Yes, cases have to be interpreted in light of the Constitution, but when cases arise that can’t be judged using those old standards, one has to rely on rationality and on more recent thinking. Because Thomas won’t do that, he has indeed signed onto a “homicide pact.” Lubet:

Thomas has ultimately succeeded at a long game, but his victory comes at a severe cost. Under Bruen’s holding, a gun regulation must be invalidated unless a court can locate “a well-established and representative historical analogue” dating to the 19th century. Reasoning from a silent record is perverse. The absence of an historical counterpart does not mean that a particular firearm limitation would have been considered unconstitutional by the framers, but only that they found it unnecessary, if they thought of it at all.

One judge has already ruled that domestic abusers cannot be prohibited from gun possession because there were no such laws in an age when domestic battery was regarded as an unprosecutable family matter. And high-capacity magazines were unknown, and would have been thought impossible, in the era of muzzle-loading muskets.

There is no logical, sensible or moral reason to confine today’s gun laws to the provisions favored by 19th century property owners, other than a dogmatic commitment to so-called originalism, no matter how much carnage follows. In 1949, Justice Robert Jackson famously cautioned, “there is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.” Justice Thomas has at last assembled a majority that now appears bent on turning the Second Amendment into a homicide pact.

I realize, of course, that the brief of the Supreme Court is to see if a recent law follows the Supreme Law—the stipulations of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. What I don’t know is how the Supreme Court should rule when there’s an issue (like abortion) that wasn’t envisioned by the Founders.  Usually they make in their decision on some trumped-up Constitutional issue like “right to privacy”. But for me, if the Second Amendment says the right to bear arms is there to allow a “well regulated militia,” then the reason for having guns is therefor all to see. And I know that Lauren Boebert is not a militia.

A congresswoman (oy!), not a militia

46 thoughts on “The injurious ruling of the Supreme Court on guns

  1. Those of us on the left may not like to admit it, but the problem is with the Second Amendment itself. Sure, it says nice things about the “militia,” but it also says the right “of the people,” not the militia, to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged. The Founders drew no connection between the militia and the right to bear arms. Those of us who would like to see fewer guns insist there is a connection, but it’s wishful thinking. The mere proximity of the words “militia” and “arms” does not establish a logical connection. I wish Madison had seen the problem.
    And, obviously, “arms” doesn’t mean the same thing it meant in the days of single-shot muzzle-loaders. They couldn’t have foreseen improved gun technology. Muzzle loaders could kill one person (e.g., Abraham Lincoln) but would have been little use to most criminals and mass shootings would have been impossible.
    The Second Amendment needs to be repealed, or perhaps superseded by a more rational rule for gun possession. But any politician making that suggestion would be committing political suicide.

    1. > Sure, it says nice things about the “militia,” but it also says the right “of the people,” not the militia, to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged

      AND at that point in time, the (British Imperial) government was the enemy. Militias are not necessarily government-regulated military organizations. Nothing in the precise wording of the Second Amendment, individuals are free to set up and regulate their own militias.

      Eh, if individuals don’t like the amendment, they are free to change it – or simply not exercise their Second Amendment rights. Either way, it won’t stop us from dying in the long run.

      1. Nothing in the precise wording of the Second Amendment, individuals are free to set up and regulate their own militias.

        I’m not sure what you mean by this sentence (perhaps you’re demonstrating how the placement of a comma can confuse a sentence’s meaning, as is the case with the Second Amendment), but, if you’re suggesting that the federal government has no authority over militias, you’re ignoring Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 of the US constitution, which grants to congress the power “for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions[,]” and Article II, Section 2, which makes the president the commander in chief “of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States[.]”

        1. Ken, I have to say that that is a great response. I’ll have to think about it. I’m not familiar with all of the ins-and-outs of the Constitution. Thanks!

    2. Readings of the second amendment that contend that it delivers a broad right to almost anyone to carry firearms almost anywhere depend crucially on an ahistorical reading of the phrase “keep and bear arms”. It does not mean “own guns and walk around with them”. To “bear arms” means to “be a member of a military force”, and thus there is an intimate connection between the clause about the militia and the clause about bearing arms: it is members of the militia who “bear arms” for the security of the state, not just anybody who wants a gun. These phrases must be read with knowledge of what they actually mean, which is steeped not just in American colonial history but in English history, especially the English Civil War, which, to the writers of the constitution, was just over the horizon of living memory.

      It is thus ironic that Thomas’ reading of the second amendment, while claiming to be based on a “historical method” of constitutional analysis, is in fact willfully ignorant of history.

      (Edit: I see that further below Ken makes the same historical point about bearing arms and militia.)


  2. Of course times change and new issues arise, but the question is who gets to decide how we change the constitution to meet the times? In my view, left-wing “living constitutionalists” and their right-wing “common-good constitutionalism” counterparts treat this as an exercise in pure power, as though whichever side momentarily has a numerical advantage in a court of nine unelected justices should push through expansive decisions in one direction or another.

    Originalism is not simple textualism, but at its best tries to answer the question of what the law _is_ separate from what the law _should be_. Because we already have democratic processes for changing the law: legislation and constitutional amendment.

    The real problem is that congress is too often gridlocked, and that amending the constitution is probably too hard.

    I highly recommend this podcast episode from Yale’s Akhil Reed Amar for an overview on the subject of originalism:

  3. If you read the Gary Wills article you linked to, you will see that original intent referred only to militias. Thus, if Thomas (and Scalia) were actually originalists they would not be able to extend the second amendment to people. The original intent of the second amendment was only to satisfy the demand for militias. That is the clear point of the historical record.
    The problem is not that Thomas is an originalist, but that he is an opportunist.

    1. Don’t discount that Wills might be biased himself. If you want to read about the tradition of bearing arms, read the Court’s opinion in District of Columbia vs. Heller.

      1. The history relied upon by Scalia in Heller was history researched NOT by historians (such as Gary Wills, Emeritus Professor of History at Northwestern U), but by law professors. It’s an instantiation of what’s known in the trade as “law office history” — whereby one flyspecks the historical records for material that will support one’s legal argument. (Hell, I’ve engaged in the practice myself; an advocate’s obligation is to advance the client’s position within the bounds of the law.)

        The framers’ ideas about war were informed by their experience in the American Revolution. They thought that if the US were to go to war, it would come by way of invasion, likely by England (as it had come during the Revolution, and as it would come again in 1812). To provide for the common defense against such an invasion, it was necessary to maintain militias that could be called up for emergency service. And to ensure that such militias were maintained in a state of preparedness, it was necessary that citizens who might be called upon to serve in such militias be able to keep and “bear arms” (a phrase with a distinctly military meaning) — especially since armories where such arms could be kept were not available in all localities.

        The idea that Second Amendment confers a right to gun possession apart from potential militia service is as anachronistic as the Third Amendment’s prohibition on the quartering of soldiers in private homes except in times of war and in a manner prescribed by law (another provision that was informed by the framers’ experience with the English regarding the Revolution).

  4. As a European from Belgium (liberal, but probably extreme left from an american point of view), I just cannot fathom why people choose death above life (my gun may save me, if I am lucky, but the chances that it kills innocent people – maybe my children – are way higher). Strange…

    1. Don’t discount the possibility that Americans are just crazy. Oops sorry, that’s an ableist term. Don’t discount the possibility that we’re out of our X%^&* minds! That’s a medical diagnosis.

    2. Here in America, the Republican party is perfectly fine with death, whether by firearm or by pandemic, as long as their illogic tells them that guns=freedom, and no masks/no vaccines=freedom. I just don’t know how that spell is broken. We actually have a governor in the state of Florida who is touting that he didn’t follow Covid guidelines, because he’s for freedom, yet he never includes the fact that per capita, Covid deaths in Florida are around the 10th worst in the US. That’s basically a failing grade no matter how you look at it, but for the GOP, that’s a WIN!
      (All the southern states, all Republican-run, had pretty much the worst Covid outcomes.) California, which Republicans love to slam as liberal and therefore lacking freedom (plus baby-killers) had the 13th fewest Covid deaths per capita. Gun deaths per state capita follow similar statistics as Covid deaths. Again, I can only conclude that the Republican party is A-OK with death, as long as they get to keep their warped view of freedom.

    3. Well, I live much closer to the United States than you do, and I can fathom it perfectly well. Ideally a legally owned gun doesn’t kill anyone, ever. People buy them to deter criminals, not to go around executing them gratuitously. There is a certain irreducible number of innocent people killed, more than the number of felons shot dead by gun owners, yes. But that’s a trade-off that different people approach in different ways. Do most people who own guns have little to actually fear from criminals other than rival gang members? Possibly, but it depends.

      Gun-control advocates on the extreme left as you would describe yourself if you lived in the U.S. want to disarm everyone who will submit and leave guns in the hands of the oppressed most likely to kill people with them. If criminals caught with handguns went to prison for long terms, past their peak criminal age, then you might find a shift in attitude. But they don’t. Most gun owners, I think, see toddlers being shot with Daddy’s gun as the kind of mistake they themselves would never ever make.

      (The mass shootings with auto-loading rifles that people want to ban account for just 1.6% of the shooting deaths in the U.S. These are especially sad because the victims are nearly always totally innocent, not involved in some kind of shady behaviour where they get shot as intruders by “normal” people just trigger-happy or fearful.)

    4. It is a hopeless situation. We cannot be freed from this hell; ever more blood will be spilt and the ongoing collapse of our civil society cannot be stopped….all because of twenty seven words, a misplaced comma and the ever tightening ratchet of political hate.

      There is no hope.

    5. It is mostly about perception. The rates of gun violence in the US are skewed tremendously by high levels of violence in specific neighborhoods in a small number of US cities. To most people in the US, such places are as unfamiliar as they might be to you.
      Someone unfamiliar with Belgium might only associate it with child abductions by groups of pedophiles. But the incidents that make the news are not especially reflective of most people’s experiences or concerns.

      Beyond which, the study used to conclude that gun ownership was more dangerous to residents of the home was a bit misleading. It included households where the gun was acquired because of a specific risk of violence, homes used for illegal drug sales, as an example.
      It was also implied that the gun kept in the home was the one used in any shootings at the home, but that was not actually the case.

  5. From my previous reading this is consistent with the Court’s previous rulings, which New York has been ignoring.

  6. After reading this post, the theme from M*a*S*H* entered my brain. Below is my take with apologies to Johnny Mandel.

    In a land of lethal gas
    And screams from every lad and lass
    No one ever gets a pass
    From the damage we amass

    The games we play are hard enough
    Be we weak, or. Be we tough
    To be shot sure makes it rough
    For us to end up as a snuff

    That homicide is painful
    It’s a death that’s so disdainful
    And I stand a chance to die from this disease

    This madness will retreat someday
    If the killers get their way
    But we’re the ones who have to pay
    When judges say that it’s OK

    A wise old woman once asked me
    Was I was, or not to be
    I told her it’s not up to me
    Because the Court’s gone mad, you see

    That homicide is painful
    It’s a death that’s so disdainful
    And I stand a chance to die from this disease

  7. The Bill of Rights by its terms serves to limit the powers only of the federal government — as the US Supreme Court acknowledged in its 1833 decision Barron v. Baltimore.

    The notion that the rights set out in the US constitution’s first eight amendments were made applicable as against the states via the 14th Amendment — known as the “Incorporation Doctrine” — did not gain currency until the 1930s, some 60 years after the 14th Amendment was ratified. The primary proponent of this argument was Justice Hugo Black, and the doctrine was not adopted by a majority of SCOTUS until the Warren Court began “selectively incorporating” various provisions of the Bill of Rights to apply to the states in the 1950s and 1960s. The sacred Second Amendment itself was not incorporated to apply to the states through the 14th Amendment until the 2010 case McDonald v. City of Chicago, decided some 142 years after the 14th Amendment to the US constitution was ratified.

    I bring this up not to disparage that the Bill of Rights should apply to the states — I think it should — but to point out that the “Incorporation Doctrine” by which those rights have been interpreted to apply to the states has no more support under an “originalist” or “textualist” interpretation of the 14th Amendment than did the “right of privacy” so often derided by self-described “texualists” and “originalists” and overruled by them last term in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022).

    Point being that “textualism” and “originalism” have never provided the principled means of constitutional interpretation that their proponents claim.

    1. In other words, textualism/originality is a mockery of jurisprudence…aka BS.

      But I’ll echo Darrelle in thanking you for taking the time explaining it.

    2. Yes, good to know. Although arguing with 2nd Amendment proponents with such points is at best useless and at worst hazardous.

  8. Which comes first: the legal reasoning or the desired policy outcome? (A rhetorical question for both sides.) Justice Scalia, by the way, claimed to have dozens of examples where the two diverged in his case. The burning of the US flag was one case he cited in which he upheld the constitutional right (and was the deciding vote in a 5-4 ruling, if I correctly recall) but would outlaw if he were king.

    Setting aside the endless legal arguments, I do wonder whether those in the stringent gun control camp would stick to their position if either 1) the “progressives” ever succeed in widely defunding the police, or 2) a truly right-wing, fascist government ever seized control in the United States (not a make-believe, twitter-styled fascism).

    1. One of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard in this debate, more ridiculous than the insane “defund police” rhetoric, is the absurdly naive idea that armed citizens are any threat to the US military. It’s what drives the insane right wing militias – the idiotic fantasy that they would be a credible force if faced with the US military, fascist government or not.

      Like I said in a comment above – it is a hopeless situation; we will never be free of this scourge, not least because the arguments for or against 2nd amendment rights are so often complete fantasy. We have abandoned reason.

      1. “. . .naive idea that armed citizens are any threat to the US military”. The Taliban would beg to differ with you.

        In any case, my pondering was a two-part theoretical with a rhetorical point. (I don’t pretend to know what motivates the weekend warrior wannabes.)

        1. So would the Viet Cong. Indeed no professional military has ever defeated an insurgency either at home or abroad. The insurgency never runs out of money, replacement insurgents, and popular support–this last can be coerced–but the professional military eventually runs out of time: morale in the ranks and patience at home are both dwindling assets.

          The only exception is the British Army in Northern Ireland during The Troubles Twenty thousand troops in an area the size of Connecticut were never able to defeat the IRA militarily but they did thwart the IRA’s political aim of forcing London to accede to Republican rule for Ulster. So call it a draw.

          1. “Indeed no professional military has ever defeated an insurgency either at home or abroad.” Is that really true? I can think of numerous rebellions against occupying (often colonial) administrations that were not successful and subsided. But I admit I’m not certain of the nuances between a rebellion, uprising, revolt and insurgency.

            As for the IRA, military action is (almost?) always simply a tool of achieving a political end. Therefore, the IRA were defeated as they did not succeed in their goal. However, Sinn Fein’s rise as a legitimate political force suggests that the overall cause which the IRA cloaked their activities in continues, if through other avenues. As you state, a draw seems a fair conculsion but I’m always loathe to try and carve out military action as separate to political. It’s a common approach but I believe it’s origins lie in attempts to obscure the truth such as post-WWI Germany and Post-Vietnam USA.

            1. … military action is (almost?) always simply a tool of achieving a political end.

              Indeed. As perhaps the most-influential military theoretician ever, Carl von Clausewitz, put it in his treatise On War, “war is a continuation of politics by other means.”

          2. Indeed no professional military has ever defeated an insurgency either at home or abroad.

            The Whiskey Rebellion?

            Your broad claim doesn’t survive George Washington’s term in office, Leslie.

            1. Yes, Ken. And we had our Riel Rebellion in 1885, which was put down by hastily assembled militia and troops from the nascent regular army, and transported 2000 miles to Batoche in what is now Saskatchewan. (The British Army, whom we normally looked to to do that sort of thing for us, had gone home after Confederation.) As with all stories Canadian, cold and snow played a bigger role than bullets but Riel was captured on the battlefield and later hanged (for murder, not for insurrection itself, although his henchmen were.)

              An insurgency is different from a rebellion or an insurrection. One of the differences is that an insurgency prevails in the face of efforts by an increasingly frustrated and atrocity-prone professional military to suppress it. Because this risks committing the “No true Scotsman . . .” fallacy I will concede your point that I was overly broad in my claim. Better to learn from what lessons can be drawn about uprisings of various types.

          3. Apples:oranges. The US government in 2021 is not the same as the Vietnamese in 1960 or Afghanistan at any time in it’s history and no chance foreign states will supply the necessary arms and money to an insurgency trying to keep their AR15s.

            More to the point; this line of argument against gun control is not rational. It is used as a reason to maintain the status quo, where little childrens brains splattered all over their classroom walls or people slaughtered while shopping is a regular occurance in this, the greatest nation on earth.

            No amount of reason is allowed in this debate. We are held hostage in a permanent state of trepidation about the next atrocity in our work places and schools, all because of a comma.

      2. The right-wing militias will base their strategy of insurrection on the premise that the U.S. military is infected with right-wing ideology. In other words, they would expect enough service people to defect to them to make coordinated military action against them impossible. This probably won’t happen during a future widescale insurrection. But, it cannot dismissed as sheer fantasy.

  9. My two cents.
    First, “well regulated” is not about having lots of restrictions. 18th century combat was largely about maintaining sustained fire. This was achieved through having several ranks of troops who perform the actions of the drill more or less simultaneously, so that as one rank is firing, other ranks are reloading.
    There are 15 motions required to prime and load a flintlock, depending on which manual of drill one uses. Then there are steps to move ranks to firing position, cocking, aiming, and firing.
    A well regulated militia is one where each member can perform all the steps of the firing drill accurately and quickly, like clockwork. Accurate clocks used to be called “regulators”.
    Second, the militia was composed of the organized militia, which is more or less the national guard, and the unorganized militia, which is every citizen capable of bearing arms, with some exceptions.
    Yesterday’s well regulated militia is today’s citizenry practiced in the safe use of arms.

  10. As is proper, in the main this group (those commenting) focuses on the language, the words, of the Constitution. So should the Court. The prefatory clause (well regulated militia) is distinct from the operative clause. The operative clause is what counts. (I don’t like it, but that’s irrelevant.) If rule of law is to be maintained (definitely!), don’t fiddle with the rules of interpretation. Re-amend the Constitution (a very high bar).

  11. I was impressed by the Bruen decision’s radical step forward, legitimating American traditions as recent as the 19th century. I thought that Originalist thinking awarded pride of place only to the 18th century. Why, at this rate of change, in another 100 years judges of the Federalist Society cast of mind might be ready to accept the 20th century.

  12. The only way Americans will ever have reasonable gun controls is to first repeal the Second Amendment. That will not happen, if it ever does, for several centuries. Millions more will have to die until Americans can no longer stand the carnage.

    1. It will take more than repeal of the Second Amendment to get the Canadian or European style of gun control you seek. States that want to will still have to pass laws criminalizing the possession of guns and then they will have to go to the effort of confiscating them. (Canada is right now trying to figure out how to do this, with much lower per capita gun ownership and known registration data for all previously restricted firearms that are now prohibited pending mandatory surrender.)

      Repeal of 2A only enables gun laws. It doesn’t enable confiscation. Police officers will have to be willing to go looking for them and getting into confrontations with people who aren’t at the moment causing trouble. That means probable cause to frisk suspicious-looking people on the street (which makes liberals very uncomfortable) and to get warrants to search dwellings. In practice even without 2A you will only be able to confiscate guns after they’ve been used to commit a crime. Which is not far from what the conservatives want, no?

      1. Correct. Were the Second Amendment to be interpreted not to guarantee private gun possession and ownership, it would simply mean that gun ownership and gun control would be left to the legislative process, federal and state — you know, much the same as women’s ability to control their reproductive systems post-Dobbs.

        1. Yes, of course, and it would be a holy mess. However, without the 2A the feds would be free to restrict the kinds of guns allowed in the US, even if the states say their citizens can bear them.

          It is possible to have rational gun laws; look at almost everywhere besides the US. It is not possible here so long as that amendment is in place and there is no path forward to change that.

          We cannot escape..

  13. States are still free to restrict who can buy a handgun in the first place. NYS still maintains its requirements for initial purchase including four notorized references, training, and a lengthy background check. Previously handguns, and now long guns are not allowed to be sold person to person in NYS or my state, MD.

Leave a Reply