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U.S. Federal Judge Reverses ‘Emergency Powers’ To Impose Gun & Ammunition Ban: Gross Violation Of The Constitution’s Second Amendment.

A suit organized by the Second Amendment Foundation wins another Second Amendment victory in a federal court in North Carolina. From SAF’s press release:

A federal district court judge in North Carolina has just struck down that state’s emergency power to impose a ban on firearms and ammunition outside the home during a declared emergency, ruling that the provision violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The case, Bateman v. Purdue, was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation, Grass Roots North Carolina FFE and three individual plaintiffs…..

In his opinion, Judge Malcolm J. Howard, senior United States district judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, wrote, “…the court finds that the statutes at issue here are subject to strict scrutiny…While the bans imposed pursuant to these statutes may be limited in duration, it cannot be overlooked that the statutes strip peaceable, law abiding citizens of the right to arm themselves in defense of hearth and home, striking at the very core of the Second Amendment.”

The release crows about the larger significance of this victory, and of SAF’s longterm strategy of hitting at bad gun laws, actuated since its important victory in the 2010 McDonald v. Chicago case that extended Second Amendment protections to state and local laws:

“When SAF attorney Alan Gura won the Heller case at the Supreme Court,” noted SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “the gun ban crowd said that we were a ‘one-trick-pony’ and that we would never knock out another gun law. Well, SAF has now knocked out gun laws in Maryland, Illinois and North Carolina.

“We filed this lawsuit on the day we won the McDonald case against Chicago,” he added, “extending the Second Amendment to all 50 states. This was part of our strategy of winning firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time.”

Gottlieb pointed to language in Judge Howard’s ruling that solidifies the Second Amendment’s reach outside the home. The judge noted that the Supreme Court in Heller noted that the right to keep and bear arms “was valued not only for preserving the militia, but ‘more important(ly) for self-defense and hunting.”

“Therefore,” Judge Malcolm wrote, “the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms ‘is not strictly limited to the home environment but extends in some form to wherever those activities or needs occur.”

That this judge seems to think Second Amendment violations require “strict scrutiny” is another good development.

The full decision.

Eugene Volokh gets into the legal weeds, stressing the potential importance of this court’s scrutiny standard when it comes to the Second Amendment if it becomes the legal norm:

Note that, as is often the case, the application of “strict scrutiny” can be quite rights-protective or not depending on what one understands “narrow tailoring” to mean. If narrow tailoring requires some plausible reason to believe that the law will on balance help prevent crime and injury, then that requirement will very often be satisfied. If it requires social science proof that the law will on balance help prevent crime and injury, then that requirement will rarely be satisfied, especially in situations such as this: There will rarely be solid studies of the effects of this particular kind of law.

And if, as here, “narrow tailoring” requires that the law not “excessively intrude” on rights, then that might be something like a rule of per se invalidation (at least as to very heavy burdens on the right): The premise of such an approach is that, regardless of whether the restrictions will reduce crime and injury, it is still unconstitutional if it interferes with the core of the right, since the constitutional recognition of the right expresses a judgment that the right must be protected despite the threat it may pose to compelling government interests.

My October 2010 Reason cover story on the McDonald case, and my book Gun Control on Trial on the 2008 Heller case that revived the Second Amendment.

Reason

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