New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- A ruling on New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen likely won’t be handed down until next summer, keeping many New York gun owners and applicants for concealed handgun carry licenses in limbo for months. And it will be months longer still for the State and the New York City Licensing Division to redraft its concealed handgun carry license Rules, assuming a Bruen ruling requires that to happen.
And what would be the impact of a ruling on Bruen in all other “may issue” jurisdictions?
Would those jurisdictions construe the rulings in Bruen narrowly or broadly: applicable to those jurisdictions as well, or as having no impact on them?
Given what we have seen to date, many jurisdictions blatantly ignore Heller whether the Heller holdings and reasoning are construed broadly or not.
So, why then would or should one expect other “may issue” jurisdictions to give Bruen any credence?
They ought to, of course. The right of armed self-defense, as a natural right, is not to be taken lightly in the United States, even as it goes unrecognized in other western nations, including the Commonwealth Nations and countries of the EU. And it is unrecognized by the UN, as we pointed out in prior articles.
The breadth and depth of High Court rulings are not to be considered a matter of academic interest to legal scholars and legal historians only—as rulings to be adhered to or not, or as stringently or not, as this or that lower Federal and State Court wishes.
U.S. Supreme Court holdings often do have or should have, real impact on our Nation even as many jurisdictions routinely misconstrue them. But is this inadvertent or not? Do these jurisdictions deliberately twist, contort and distort Second Amendment Heller and McDonald holdings and reasoning they don’t like?
Do these jurisdictions alter Heller and McDonald rulings and reasoning to suit their personal fancy about guns and gun possession, thus allowing Anti-Second Amendment agendas can continue to be pursued, unimpeded? It would seem so.
And, this, is, unfortunately, a disturbingly familiar occurrence we see with those government actions that infringe the core of the Second Amendment.
On The Matter Of “Narrow” And “Broad” U.S. Supreme Court Holdings
But what constitutes a narrow or broad U.S. Supreme Court holding, really? What does the expression “narrowly tailored ruling” mean?
This often perplexes the Federal Appellate Courts.
See, e.g., United States vs. Skoien, 614 F.3d 638 (7th Cir. 2010). The Seventh Circuit opined,
“We do not think it profitable to parse [all the] passages of Heller as if they contained an answer to [all] the question[s] [of what] is valid. They are precautionary language. Instead of resolving questions such as the one we must confront, the Justices have told us that the matters have been left open. The language we have quoted warns readers not to treat Heller as containing broader holdings than the Court set out to establish: thatthe Second Amendment creates individual rights, one of which is keeping operable handguns at home for self-defense. What other entitlements the Second Amendment creates, and what regulations legislatures may establish, were left open. The opinion is not a comprehensive code; it is just an explanation for the Court’s disposition. Judicial opinions must not be confused with statutes, and general expressions must be read in light of the subject under consideration.”
So, if the issue of immediate access to a firearm for self-defense in the home is, as the 7th Circuit says, meant to be broadly construed—then why is it that some jurisdictions routinely choose to ignore Heller?
The answer is plain: because they can and because they want NJ S.B. 3757 is a blatant example of this practice. The language of this bill is, in its import, essentially a rehash of the original D.C. handgun bill that the High Court struck down as unconstitutional.
Many jurisdictions across the Country loathe the Second Amendment. And it is apparent that, given this loathing of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, they pretend Heller and McDonald don’t exist. This blatant dismissal of these two seminal cases enrages Justices Thomas and Alito to no end, and justifiably so.
But the U.S. Supreme Court has no enforcement mechanism to see to it that its Heller and McDonald rulings and reasoning are adhered to.
Lower Courts are required to adhere to precedential rulings of higher Courts in their jurisdiction. And all Courts, State and Federal, are required to adhere to U.S. Supreme Court rulings. They are obligated to but often do not.
Courts, in a very real sense, are merely on the honor system in this regard. They may be roundly chastised for failing to adhere to higher Court rulings, and should be, but, really, the worst that happens is these Court holdings are, simply, overturned on appeal.
Jurists who flagrantly fail to adhere to precedential rulings get a pass. They have absolute immunity from liability.
And, as we have heretofore pointed out, even if the High Court rulings were truly expansive, it is unlikely that Anti-Second Amendment jurisdictions will pay heed to those rulings. They will attempt to find ways around them just as they have done with the rulings in Heller and McDonald; treating them with the same disdain and incredulity; rendering opinions that serve merely to torture and obfuscate the rulings and reasoning of the High Court. Nothing is likely to change as long as the citizenry keeps voting into Office individuals who support the Neo-Marxist/Neoliberal Globalist agenda.
Anti-Second Amendment State legislatures that enact laws that violate the core of the Second Amendment continue the practice because they know their Courts will uphold the constitutionality of illegal laws if challenged. Thus, plaintiffs who might otherwise challenge the constitutionality of gun laws that flagrantly defy the Second Amendment and blithely ignore U.S. Supreme Court precedent must think twice before doing so. They know they have an uphill battle.
The attendant time wasted for plaintiffs, who challenge unconstitutional government gun regulations, and the attendant monetary costs associated with bringing such actions, are significant, and will usually amount to wasted effort.
State and local Governments know this as do Anti-Second Amendment members of Congress.
One must appeal to the next higher Court to obtain relief from adverse lower Court decisions. And Appellate Courts will often just rubber-stamp decisions of the Trial Courts. And, appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court for review is, especially, no easy task. It is time-consuming and extremely expensive. And the High Court grants review in a pitifully small number of cases.
It would be nice if the High Court could issue orders sua sponte, enjoining Governments from enacting laws that blithely ignore its Second Amendment Heller and McDonald rulings. But the Court cannot do this.
Indeed, it would require a separate office within the Court just to keep tabs on all the unconstitutional actions of the State and Federal Governments and of the erroneous rulings coming out of lower Courts.
But the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t have the authority even to efficiently monitor unconstitutional actions of government and erroneous rulings of lower Courts that negatively impact the exercise of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, even if it had the wherewithal and resources to keep tabs on unconstitutional gun laws.
And within the High Court itself, several of the Justices all too often interpose their own philosophical prejudices and biases on the Second Amendment issues to be decided. And those prejudices and biases come into play even in the very construction of the legal issues.
This has disturbing implications for Bruen. We discuss this matter in the next segment and in future articles.
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Bruen Concealed Carry Case, What Impact Could It Have On “may issue” Jurisdictions is written by Roger Katz for www.ammoland.com