Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- The Supreme Court finally announced its long-awaited decision in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen yesterday, and as expected, it’s a doozy.
The decision was written by my longtime favorite Justice Clarence Thomas and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. Justice Breyer was joined in a lonnnnng, emotion-laden dissent, by Justices Kagan and Sotomayor.
Probably the single most important aspect of Thomas’s ruling is a repudiation of the lower courts’ use of various “balancing schemes” and “tests” in deciding Second Amendment cases. A declaration that these cases should be decided based on the text of the Constitution, and the historical application of that text at the time it was adopted, not by any sort of “ends-means” scrutiny. The ruling, and much of the dicta going along with it, is narrowly focused on New York’s “may issue” licensing system, which gives bureaucrats the authority to deny carry licenses on the basis of arbitrary standards and their own discretion.
Justice Kavanaugh, joined by Chief justice Roberts, penned a concurring opinion that goes to some pains to point out limits on the reach of the Court’s ruling, particularly noting that the ruling doesn’t negate state laws that require that certain conditions be met before issuing a carry license, such as criminal background checks, safety training, and education on state laws related to firearm use. He also quotes from Heller to stress the idea that the Second Amendment is not without limits, and that some regulation of firearms and firearm owners, as has been traditionally employed, is tolerable under the Constitution.
This concurring opinion from Kavanaugh and Roberts reinforces the perception of many in the rights community, that these two are the “weakest links” in the Court’s “conservative” block.
“Ends-Means Scrutiny” & “Balancing Test” Excuse Removed
What’s important though, is that by denouncing “ends-means scrutiny” and “balancing test” schemes, Justice Thomas and the Court majority have effectively removed the most commonly used tool of the appellate courts for skirting the protections of the Second Amendment.
This will make it much more difficult for those courts to come up with excuses for allowing clearly unconstitutional infringements, to remain in force. The ruling basically says that from now on, when a court is looking at a Second Amendment case, they must look at the original text and history, and if that text and history does not support the infringement, then the law must be ruled unconstitutional, regardless of what sort of government interest might be served by allowing the law to stand.
This should have far-reaching ramifications.
In response to the majority opinion, the “liberal wing” of the Court offered a long, rambling dissent, penned by retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, who once called for a repeal of the Second Amendment. In it, Breyer pours out all sorts of irrelevant statistics about “gun deaths,” mass shootings, “gun suicides,” and other such “guns are bad, m’kay” nonsense. To his credit, in his own concurring opinion, Justice Alito shredded Breyer and his emotional dissent, pointing out that none of his 100+ pages of arguments and statistics have any bearing on the case at hand, which is about the defense of fundamental human rights.
This case and decision serve as a reminder of how much elections matter, and how important it is to sometimes hold your nose and vote for someone who’s not our friend, but who is also not a friend to our enemies. [read Dr. Oz] I was never a Donald Trump fan, and the best arguments I could come up with to vote for him were:
- 1. He wasn’t Hillary Clinton.
- 2. He might hire some sharp people to help him get his head right on guns.
- 3. He’d be under extreme scrutiny and have to fight for everything he tried to do, with Democrats vehemently opposing him, and a number of Republicans watching and opposing him almost as much.
- 4. The next President would be naming at least one or two Supreme Court Justices, and those picks would be critical for decades to come.
In the end, many of my concerns about Trump proved out, as he did betray gun owners with his actions on bump-stocks and his calls for “red flag” laws, but he surprised me with much of what he was able to accomplish during his term. Most importantly, President Trump nominated three relatively solid new Justices to the Supreme Court and got them confirmed. I’m not completely thrilled with Justice Kavanaugh, and I’ve been a little disappointed with Justice Gorsuch at times, but the ruling released yesterday demonstrates just how important those three appointments were, and will be for the next decade or two. Appointments like those are worth taking a chance on a back-stabber if it gets Gun Voters the majority control, especially when you know that the alternative would be a hundred times worse.
Pray for Justice Thomas
Going forward, we all need to pray for the continued health and safety of all of the Justices, especially Justice Thomas, who is the longest-serving Justice on the Court, and now the oldest member of the Court, at 74, as well as the most constitutionally correct. While the other members of the Court are much younger than Justice Thomas, they face risks as well, particularly since the “leak” of the draft opinion in the Dobbs case, which exposed today’s decision by the Court to overturn the infamous decision in Roe v. Wade. Illegal protests have now been activated outside Justices’ homes, and threats of violence have significantly increased.
Earlier this month, a man was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland. The man had a pistol and extra magazines, along with a “tactical” knife, tools, duck tape, and other “burglar equipment.” He had arrived at Kavanaugh’s home in a taxi a little after 1:00 in the morning but walked down the street after noticing two Federal Marshals in front of the house. The man then called 911 and reported that he was armed and suicidal, and he had traveled from California with the intention of killing Justice Kavanaugh, then killing himself, as a way to “give his life meaning.”
He was arrested without incident, while still on the line with the 911 operator. The man told FBI investigators that he had decided to kill Kavanaugh because he assumed Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and against New York in the NYSRPA v. Bruen case, “weakening” gun control laws.
For some unfathomable reason, the media has been unusually quiet about this failed political assassination plan, instead of focusing on the January 6th “insurrection” hearings, and the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation suit. Of course, we can only speculate on what news coverage might look like if one of the “liberal” justices had been the target of an assassination plan by a crazed “right-winger,” but I’m guessing it would be just a little more aggressive. In fact, it would probably trigger another round of demands for more gun control laws. After all, this criminal nut-job apparently acquired his weapons and ammunition in California, flew to DC, then took a taxi to Kavanaugh’s house in Maryland. Obviously stronger gun laws would have prevented all of that. (<– the writer typed sarcastically.)
With the ruling on Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs case now out, we can expect more violent responses. Several “groups” and individuals have been openly advocating for a day – or week or month – of civil unrest and destruction in response to the expected decision. Again, for some reason, the legacy media doesn’t seem interested in those threats, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook don’t seem interested in suspending or canceling these folks’ accounts. As long as they’re not saying anything extreme and controversial, like suggesting that a woman is an adult female human, I guess they get a pass.
Pray for Justice Thomas’s continued health, and for the safety of all of the Justices. The crazy’s getting pretty deep.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs, and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.