SCOTUS needs to take a stand on the Second Amendment and stop kicking the can down the road.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sent a clear message to millions of gun owners in California: You’re living in a Second Amendment-free zone.
In an order on Monday, without explanation or comment, the Court rejected a civil rights lawsuit brought by the Calguns Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation. Those groups had hoped the justices would rule that the Second Amendment continues to apply even in the progressive enclaves of the left coast—and that law-abiding California residents possess the right to buy and sell firearms.
Instead, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, a decision that underscores its willingness to let California legislators and judges evade the Second Amendment within the borders of the state.
“There are no significant Second Amendment obstacles to local and state gun control at this point,” said Don Kilmer, an attorney in San Jose, California, who is representing the gun rights groups. Also representing them is Alan Gura, who has taken two Second Amendment cases to the Supreme Court before.
Their lawsuit challenges a decision by Alameda, a California county that includes Oakland and other east bay cities, to enact a zoning law so onerous it effectively bans gun stores. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with Alameda in 2017, saying that “no historical authority suggests that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to sell a firearm.”
At least Monday’s decision serves one useful purpose: It exposes the federal judiciary’s willingness to elevate some constitutional rights over others.
If a city enacted zoning laws that effectively outlawed abortion clinics, and a federal appeals court had permitted it, the Supreme Court would have stepped in a heartbeat later. Under precedents going back to Maher v. Roe (1977), any law representing “direct state interference” with abortion is evaluated using strict scrutiny, the most exacting standard of legal review. Few such laws survive. (The 9th Circuit did not apply strict scrutiny to Alameda’s law.)[…]
Kilmer, the San Jose attorney representing the gun rights groups against Alameda, says: “The problem with the 9th Circuit’s activism, and the refusal of the Supreme Court to cabin in their abuses, is that the California legislature and local municipalities will feel free to do whatever they want.”
Exactly so: the Second Amendment has been effectively repealed inside California. I suspect that California’s millions of gun owners, who are subject to intrusive new registration requirements starting in July, are beginning to wonder: If federal judges routinely ignore the law, why can’t I?