Last week, for the first time in nearly a decade, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a gun rights case. A local shooting sports club is challenging New York City’s handgun regulations. The regulation in question refused to allow residents to take their lawfully owned and registered handguns anywhere outside their homes unless they were going directly to any one of seven gun ranges within the city limits. Residents could not take their guns to a range outside the city or to any other location, including a second home. It was against the law to stop at Starbucks or any other place on their way to the range. The City declared for six years that the law was constitutional, but when the Supreme Court announced last January that they would hear the case, New York City changed the law in an effort to keep the Court from hearing it, declaring that the issue was moot.
Justice Ginsburg said that New York City had given the shooting club everything that they wanted, so there was nothing left to adjudicate. Justice Sotomayor said that New York City has basically “thrown in the towel.” But Chief Justice Roberts in a 2007 opinion said that a case does not become moot just because a defendant voluntarily stopped the action that caused the original litigation. It has to be “absolutely clear that the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur.”
The shooting club wants the Court to declare “that the transportation ban is and was unconstitutional.” Without that declaration, there is no reason why the City cannot come back in a different judicial environment and reinstitute their unconstitutional regulations.
But if by some chance a majority of the justices decide this case is moot, there are several other cases in the wings. One of those is Worman v. Healey. That case challenges Massachusetts’ ban on firearms and magazines that are commonly used in more than forty states. Gun grabbers don’t want the Supreme Court to rule on that law because that would invalidate a large number of laws that the Democrats in Virginia’s General Assembly have promised to pass in the upcoming session. Those laws would be impermissible if the Massachusetts ban is ruled unconstitutional.
Another element of the New York City case that the General Assembly should consider is that a broad spectrum of justices questioned whether the law improved public safety. These included Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Alito. The lawyer for New York City allowed that the law “could be repealed without a negative impact on public safety.” The gun control laws that Virginia’s Democrat legislators plan to pass will not only have no positive impact on public safety, they will have a negative impact because they will reduce the public’s ability to defend ourselves.
Another thing the General Assembly should consider is the huge increase in state expenditures when they have to defend themselves from the constitutional challenges that are guaranteed to arise in both federal and state courts. There is also the huge cost to the states because twenty-eight local governments all over the Commonwealth have become Second Amendment Sanctuaries, and their local law enforcement agencies will not help the state enforce laws that are blatantly unconstitutional. Nearly sixty other localities are considering such ordinances.
And in a move that could start a trend, the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors not only unanimously passed a Second Amendment Sanctuary law last week, they also unanimously passed a resolution that promoted “the order of militia within the county.” Attorney and County Administrator Eric Young said, “Our position is that Article I, Section 13, of the Constitution of Virginia reserves the right to ‘order’ militia to the localities. Therefore, counties, not the state, determine what types of arms may be carried in their territory and by whom. So, we are ‘ordering’ the militia by making sure everyone can own a weapon.”
The long and the short of it though is that the liberals don’t want the Supreme Court to rule on guns right now, because they know their favorite laws will be declared unconstitutional. They also want to impeach President Trump so that he won’t be able to place another conservative justice on the court when the ailing Ruth Ginsburg finally steps down. If the Supreme Court does stand up and do its job as the Constitution requires, and if we keep approving such people to fill judicial vacancies in all federal courts, then the only recourse for gun grabbers will be to cry in their beer. And that’s why gun controllers don’t want the Supreme Court actually ruling on the constitutionality of gun laws.