With President Joe Biden making noise about banning 9mm handguns, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introducing legislation to freeze handgun sales, the Supreme Court is about to issue a major Second Amendment opinion—its first in over a decade.
All this comes amid a spate of horrific mass shootings that has caused the gun control debate to flare up at a time when the country’s divisions have never been greater.
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority will be ruling on the constitutionality of certain limits placed by New York state on the concealed carry rights of state residents, and it is likely they will invalidate the restrictions.
“It does seem relatively clear that the court is going to strike down New York’s law and make it harder for cities and states to restrict concealed carry of firearms,” Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law, told The Hill.
“It remains to be seen exactly how broad the Supreme Court goes, but one thing is clear: as mass shootings become more of a political issue, the court is going to take options away from lawmakers on the basis of the Second Amendment.”
The ruling from the justices could come as early as next week—but will certainly be no later than early July. However the justices rule, it will likely add fuel to an already tense debate that shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
Amid the terrible mass shootings that seem to be a weekly occurrence, Democratic politicians have escalated their talk of gun restrictions and legislation that encroaches ever further on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
On Monday, for instance, Biden set his sights on 9 mm handguns—not the high-powered rifles actually used in the recent mass shootings—by repeating outlandish claims about what they can do.
“A 9 mm bullet blows the lung out of the body,” he said. “So the idea of these high-caliber weapons—there’s simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting.”
Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north have enacted a sweeping freeze on the sale and transfer of any handguns.
In a press conference on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau essentially halted all sales and transfers of firearms.
“What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” he said. “We recognize that the vast majority of gun owners use them safely and in accordance with the law, but other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives.”
Pointedly, the prime minister neglected to mention the right of every human being to the means of self-defense—something once recognized in Canada as well as in the United States.
The upcoming Supreme Court ruling will be the first Second Amendment ruling by the Court since 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller. In that case, the Court ruled that Second Amendment covers a citizen’s right to maintain a gun in the home for the purpose of self-defense. The Supreme Court’s decision in the New York case may define what restrictions the government can impose on the right to bear arms.
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