The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) vacated and remanded several cases centered on an “assault weapons” ban in Maryland, a “high capacity” magazine ban in California, and carry restrictions in Hawaii. This is the result of the high court’s ruling in the New York concealed carry case last week.
The Court ordered the lower courts to revisit 2nd Amendment cases involving firearm restrictions in California, New Jersey, Maryland, and Hawaii.
Among the cases are Bianchi v. Frosh, challenging Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban –Young v. Hawaii, which deals with concealed carry restrictions in Hawaii – and Duncan v. Bonta, which challenges California’s “high capacity” magazine ban.
A challenge to New Jersey’s “high capacity” ban was also among the cases vacated and remanded.
In a 6-3 decision last week, the Justices, struck down a New York law that required residents to show “proper cause” or a specific need to carry a gun, if they wanted to conceal carry a firearm in public.
About six states have similar laws to New York.
In the New York case, the court’s majority decision gave lower courts new guidance on how to evaluate gun restrictions. In their decision, the Justices rejected a two-step appeals court process used previously is one step too many. Lower courts who are assessing modern firearms regulations should ask whether they are, “consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding.”
The Right to Self-Defense
Justice Thomas, a great defender of the Bill of Rights, was the perfect person to write the majority opinion. He was able to present it on his birthday.
He wrote, “the constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.’ McDonald, 561 U. S., at 780 (plurality opinion). The exercise of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate to government officers some special need. The Second Amendment right to carry arms in public for self-defense is no different. New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”
New York and other “may issue” states require persons who want to carry a weapon to demonstrate a need with which the state agrees. And Thomas, noting that Heller had already decided this issue, blew that up for good, saying the two-step balancing test required by the state was “one step too many.” Indeed, the one test he endorsed was the historical “traditions of the American people … [which] demands our unqualified deference.” When was the last time you heard someone in the federal government say that?
The high court also told federal appeals courts to revisit cases involving laws in California and New Jersey that limit the number of bullets a gun magazine can hold.
The justices also sent back for further review a case from Maryland that challenged the state’s 2013 ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons. The high court had in 2017 turned away a previous challenge to the law.
While the government makes the country more dangerous, we will need our guns for self-defense.