HomePoliticsAfter the gun control victory at the Supreme Court, justices have other...

After the gun control victory at the Supreme Court, justices have other gun cases in their sights

WASHINGTON — Friday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding a law banning domestic abusers from owning firearms — a rare victory for gun control advocates — doesn’t mean it will stop striking down other gun restrictions.

The court has several pending cases it could take action on in the coming week, which would provide further signs of how eager the conservative majority is to continue a long-term campaign to reshape the scope of the right to bear arms.

How the court approaches these cases will determine whether Friday’s ruling was an outlier or a sign of its retreat from an expansive understanding of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

The increased activity on gun rights stems from the Court’s relatively new embrace of an individual right to bear arms, first articulated in a 2008 ruling but significantly expanded in 2022.

In the latest ruling — a case called New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen — the court said gun restrictions should be analyzed based on a historical understanding of the right to bear arms. That led to a wave of new challenges to established gun restrictions, including the domestic violence ban at issue in Friday’s ruling in United States v. Rahimi.

In the latest ruling, the court stuck to what’s called its “history and tradition” test for reviewing gun restrictions, but appeared to take a small step back from the hardline approach of the Bruen ruling. Judge Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion in the Bruen case, was the only judge Friday to say they would have ruled that the federal domestic violence law was unconstitutional.

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But it remains to be seen how the court will approach other gun restrictions, all of which must be analyzed based on whether there is some kind of historical analogy.

Gun control advocates took some solace in the latest ruling, with Esther Sanchez-Gomez, litigation director at the Giffords Law Center, saying it showed that “common sense must still prevail.”

The ruling, she added, “gives me hope” that the court will uphold other gun restrictions in future cases.

Andrew Willinger, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University School of Law, said the Rahimi ruling was limited and does not dictate the outcome of other gun cases.

“In some respects, the court is committed to deciding a number of other challenges in the coming years,” he added.

Among the cases the court could hear in the coming days is a challenge to a federal law that bans nonviolent felons from owning guns and another that also bars people who use illegal drugs from owning a firearm.

This last case touches on the same criminal law, including: Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden‘s son, was recently convicted in Delaware. As such, any Supreme Court ruling concluding that the law violates the right to bear arms in certain situations could ultimately help him.

The nonviolent felon case involves a Pennsylvania man named Bryan Range, who was convicted in 1995 of making a false statement to obtain food stamps. The conviction led to his disqualification under federal law from owning a gun, prompting him to sue the government, claiming his right to bear arms had been violated.

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The case with closet similarities to Hunter Biden involves Patrick Daniels, who was apprehended by police in Mississippi in April 2022 with marijuana, a loaded pistol and a loaded rifle.

In both cases, the Biden administration appealed after losing to lower courts, where justices cited the 2022 Supreme Court ruling to rule in favor of gun owners.

The court could decide to hear one or both cases, or send them back to lower courts for further analysis in light of the Rahimi decision.

If the court were to hear the cases, there is no guarantee that they will both come out the same way, based on what the court said in the Rahimi ruling.

In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts focused in part on the determination that domestic abuser Zackey Rahimi posed a “credible threat to the physical safety of others.” He also emphasized that the ban was temporary.

Clark Neily, an attorney with the libertarian Cato Institute, which supports gun rights, said the cases against nonviolent criminals and drug users raise very different questions, including whether defendants in both cases pose a danger to others.

“These are clear restrictions on gun ownership, in that the characteristics of someone who is an illegal drug user are different than the characteristics of someone who has been convicted of a crime,” he said.

As for Hunter Biden, who was convicted of violating gun law by obtaining the gun as a narcotics user and two false statements related to the gun’s purchase from an arms dealer, legal experts say the Rahimi ruling could see him to help. The chances of eliminating gun ownership count on appeal.

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Biden’s lawyers had argued in a court filing that his gun trial should be postponed until after the Rahimi case and that possibly all other cases would have been decided, predicting that the outcome of the Rahimi case could provide “guidance” to the judge who presides over the case.

Willinger said Biden could potentially leverage the ruling on appeal by pointing to the Supreme Court’s focus on Rahimi’s violent behavior — something that wasn’t an issue in the Biden case.

“You can imagine Hunter Biden’s lawyers making a strong argument to distinguish his case from this one,” Willinger said.

The shopping list of gun cases the court could hear is not limited to the issues of nonviolent crimes and drug users.

Adam Kraut, executive director of the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights organization, said he is hopeful the court will move beyond cases like Rahimi’s that focus on who can’t own a gun and focus on laws that ban specific types of guns and gun ownership. prohibit. certain places.

Among the petitions pending in court are a challenge to a New York law that, among other things, bans gun ownership in certain “sensitive places,” and another case seeking an Illinois ban on assault weapons and large capacity. Magazines.

“That would be another step forward from a gun rights perspective if the court were to hear any of these cases,” Kraut said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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