Gun Safety Laws Upheld In Court In Win For Democrats

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The U.S. Supreme Court has for a second time declined to block restrictions on firearms enacted in New York state, although the court’s decisions don’t necessarily reflect how ongoing legal challenges to the new rules will eventually conclude. The latest decision was specifically in response to a request for suspensions of key regulations while appeals continue, not something more final.

One of the recently challenged firearms rules restricted the public carry of firearms in locations including churches, medical offices, theaters, public parks, and even Times Square, as recapped by Reuters. That law was the subject of the earlier decision by the Supreme Court on January 11 and evidently is in effect. Other challenged rules include demands for security systems protecting sellers’ firearms on hand and tightened records for sales, while for consumers, New York has also imposed background check requirements before certain purchases of ammo and required training before receiving licenses for concealed carry. Reuters notes that a federal judge previously concluded protections available from the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which infamously covers firearms, were for individuals rather than business entities — like those in which nearly a dozen people challenging New York’s rules in a second court case are involved.

Those plaintiffs also lost before a federal appeals court, leading to their failure this week before the Supreme Court. Their challenge covers new standards evidently including those rules for sellers. A ruling last year from the Supreme Court that undid prior limits in New York on concealed carry also set a standard that courts later dealing with similar challenges should compare the disputed rules to historical precedents in the United States — which sounds similar to the reasoning that conservative Justices used in overturning Roe v. Wade, which undid national legal protections for the right to abortion after decades of Americans benefiting from the availability.

CBS offered a longer list of the new regulations in New York that were disputed by these firearms sellers, including a ban on individuals under the age of 18 entering a firearms seller’s store without a parent or guardian. Teenagers have repeatedly carried out some of the mass shootings that have recently shocked the United States, including the attack last year at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, although that assailant was 18. Also under dispute in New York by the gun sellers was a new requirement for licensing associated with the purchase and possession of semiautomatic rifles. According to CBS, the underlying dispute remains before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel already rejected the sellers’ push for a block. Consideration by the entirety of the appeals court is sometimes available.

The New York rules are facing these challenges as Democratic officials elsewhere, including in Illinois, pursue new measures promoting gun safety. On the same day that the Illinois state House recently gave its final approval to the measure, Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an assault weapons ban into law. It blocks future sales of the affected guns, but those who currently possess the firearms can keep them if they register with police.