Tuesday, February 25, 2014

US: Supreme Court Declines in Taking On Politically Charged Gun Rights

According to Reutersthe US Supreme Court on Monday (February 24) declined to wade into the politically charged issue of gun control by leaving intact three court rulings rejecting challenges to federal and state laws.

The high court's decision not to hear the cases represented a loss for gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), which was behind two of the challenges.
COMMENT: The first case involved a challenge by the NRA to a Texas law that prevents 18-20 year olds from carrying handguns in public. It also raised the broader question of whether there is a broad right under the Second Amendment to bear arms in public.
The second NRA case was a challenge to several federal laws and regulations, dating back to 1968, that make it illegal for firearms dealers to sell guns or ammunition to anyone under 21.
The third case was on the narrow question of whether consumers have the legal right to challenge laws that regulate the sale of firearms. The challenge to a federal law that restricts the interstate transport of guns, and a related Virginia law, were filed by several District of Columbia residents who wished to obtain guns via neighboring Virginia.
The court has yet to decide whether there is a right to carry guns in public, a question left unanswered in its two most recent firearms-related decisions.
In the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case, the court held that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution guaranteed an individual right to bear arms. Two years later in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court held that the earlier ruling applied to the states.
Despite the Supreme Court's declining to wade further into the controversial gun debate, on balance, those supporting gun rights seem to be out in front of the citizens clamoring for tougher gun laws on three fronts:
1. Promises made by left-leaning President Barack Obama to toughen firearms laws following the brutal shooting of 27 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 by Adam Lanza, 20 have reportedly failed; 
2. "Concealed-carry" laws are in force in all 50 of the US states with very remote likelihood that such laws will be overturned any time soon; and

3. Democratic representatives and senators of the House and Senate, anticipating a shaky mid-term election in November 2014, will no doubt do almost anything to retain their vulnerable seats, which may include not "rocking the boat" in states where it is not fashionable for Democrats to risk losing their seats over tougher gun laws.