After the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear a 2nd Amendment case on the right to carry a firearm outside the home, a journalist who follows gun-rights issues predicts a major ruling is coming.
The justices announced the court will review a lower-court ruling that upheld New York’s restrictive gun permit law, which means the high court will take up its first 2nd Amendment case since Barack Obama’s first term.
The state of New York was sued by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, which argues the state is violating the 2nd Amendment by refusing to allow lawful New Yorkers to obtain a gun-carry permit. And therefore, the lawsuit claims, the state is limiting American citizens' right to defend themselves outside their own home.
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s announcement, reporter Stephen Gutowski says the case is interesting, first of all, because a 2nd Amendment case has not come before the high court in more than a decade. The court’s Heller ruling in 2008 held that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the individual right to possess firearms, and it was a decision applauded by 2nd Amendment supporters for such a landmark ruling. A similar ruling came in 2010 over the City of Chicago’s restrictive gun laws.
Regarding this new case, Gutowski says a gun-carry case marks a first for the high court, which will review how the 2nd Amendment applies to gun ownership away from the home.
Gutowski, a former reporter for The Washington Free Beacon, wrote about guns and law there but left in recent weeks to launch a website, TheReload.com, to continue writing and reporting on the same topics.
Writing on his new website, Gutowski points out that six justices currently on the Supreme Court have issued legal opinions that favor 2nd Amendment protections. Four of the six, including Clarence Thomas, have “chastised” the court for failing to take up more 2nd Amendment cases in the past.
Alan Gottlieb of Second Amendment Foundation tells One News Now that gun-rights groups have been working for years to get a gun-carry case before the high court to address the legal issue.
"And quite frankly, with the current makeup of this Court,” he says, “I think it opens an important door to restoring and protecting Second Amendment rights."
Reacting to the high court's announcement, a spokesman for a gun-restriction group calls it a "reckless response to our nation's grief" for the justices to review the New York ruling.
"Today's announcement," said Hannah Shearer of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, "is a warning sign that our nation's highest court is poised to brush aside the will of the people and instead side with gun lobby groups seeking to eliminate even the most modest firearm laws."
Gutowski tells One News Now that New York’s restrictive law is mirrored in seven other states that, together, account for a quarter of the U.S. population.
“So about a quarter of the country,” he observes, “is currently being governed by these kinds of restrictive gun carry laws."
Another looming issue with the future ruling, Gutowski says, is the Supreme Court could create a new standard for dealing with 2nd Amendment-related cases moving forward.
“And that could have even bigger implications than just on gun carry itself," Gutowski continues. "It could have implications for all sorts of gun questions around the country like assault weapons bans and magazine bans, and things like that."