Monday, July 4, 2016

How Assault Weapons Opponents Will Succeed

Following up on Risa Kaufman's post on the human right to be free from gun violence, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to review two cases involving local bans on assault weapons.   The declination left in tact bans on military style assault weapons enacted in New York and Connecticut.  These are not the first bans the Court has declined to review. But given events of the last two weeks, the refusal to review carries greater significance.

Congress refused to take even minimal action to restrict access to weapons, including expanding background check obligations to gun shows and the internet.   There appears to be no logic to the rejection of this bill, other than continuing the rigidity for which the NRA and their politicians are noted.

In refusing review, the Supreme Court re-acknowledged the right of localities to make reasonable regulations regarding weapons, a power begging review post-Heller. Second Amendment jurisprudence is being shaped not by federal action, but by inaction. Local and state laws will be how gun change happens.

While some see the Court's action as evading an opportunity to discuss the boundaries of individual gun rights, in deciding not to decide, the Supreme Court has brought some sensibility to the gun issue.  The New York and Connecticut bans certainly are defeats for the NRA.  But with a congress unwilling to take even the most rudimentary precautions, the Supreme Court is left to bring some sensibility to the US epidemic of gun killings.  The NRA might want to examine the cost of inflexibility.

Meanwhile, last week Representative John Lewis returned to his civil-rights roots and organized a house sit-in, attempting to force voting on gun legislation.



Guns, Margaret Drew | Permalink


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