Supreme Court to Hear First Gun Rights Case in Nearly a Decade

The Daily Signal | 1/22/2019 | Staff
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Elizabeth Slattery writes about the proper role of the courts, judicial nominations, and the Constitution as a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. She co-hosts SCOTUS101, a podcast about everything that’s happening at the Supreme Court.

Amy Swearer is a legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a case challenging New York City’s prohibition on transporting licensed handguns within city limits to locations other than shooting ranges.

This is the first significant Second Amendment case the justices will hear since ruling that the Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, and that this right applies against the states as well as the federal government, in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.

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In the intervening years, the lower courts have struggled with the contours of the Second Amendment as state and local governments have attempted to regulate away the newly protected right.

The Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases raised many more questions to be explored in subsequent litigation:

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What types of firearms, ammunition, and magazines may states prohibit, if any? Does the right to “bear” firearms extend beyond the home?

Can states require applicants for a concealed carry permit to show a “good cause” or “justifiable need”? What standard of review applies to regulations of firearms—rational basis, intermediate, or strict scrutiny?

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Or, as then-D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh suggested in 2011, should courts throw out these balancing tests and “assess gun bans and regulations based on text, history, and tradition”?

Needless to say, it’s well past time for the Supreme Court to provide more guidance on these issues.

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Indeed, Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch chastised their colleagues in 2017 when the Supreme Court declined...
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