Despite fights over the Second Amendment, gun sales increased in the last few years
The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will hear New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett. At issue is whether New York’s denial of an application for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment. A decision in this case could change how the courts interpret the Second Amendment and could dismantle many current gun laws.
The case, according to Vox, “involves New York state’s handgun licensing law — a law that has been in place since 1913 — which requires someone who wishes to carry a handgun in public to demonstrate ‘proper cause’ in order to obtain a license permitting them to do so.”
A New York gun rights group and the two men who were refused a permit “claim that ‘law-abiding citizens’ have a Second Amendment right to carry a gun in public — and the Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, could possibly agree,” Vox reports.
U.S. residents are now buying more firearms than ever before. Sales soared in January after the assault on the U.S. Capitol and the Biden administration was sworn in.
More than 2 million guns were bought in January, according to The Washington Post’s analysis of background-check data from the federal government. “That is an 80 percent year-over-year spike and the third-highest one-month total on record,” according to The Post.
These January gun sells only added to the exorbitant number of guns purchased throughout the pandemic. “Estimated firearm purchases climbed to an unprecedented 2.1 million last March, early in the coronavirus pandemic when cities and states issued stay-at-home orders to contain the spread of the deadly disease,” according to The Washington Post. As protests erupted throughout the country in response to the murder of George Floyd, “Firearms sales went even higher, to 2.8 million in June and 2.5 million in July.”
Steven Dulan, firearms law professor at Western Michigan University, told The Post that first-time gun buyers who “said they would never become a gun owner were trusting the police to protect them, and that delusion has been dispelled.”
Conservatives have been interested in expanding Second Amendment protections but lacked sufficient votes on the nine-justice Supreme Court to change much.
“This may be the first of several instances that the reconstituted court, with a 6-3 conservative-liberal majority, shows its muscle. Other similarly contentious issues touching on right-wing passions are headed toward the justices, for example, related to abortion rights and racial affirmative action,” said CNN.
The Court has often avoided ruling on Second Amendment issues, to the frustration of Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the conservative justices on the bench. “If a lower court treated another rights so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this Court would intervene,” he wrote back in 2018. “But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the 2nd Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court.”
“While most states have virtually unrestricted rules for concealed carriage of guns outside the home, New York and seven other states — California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island — have significant restrictions,” this according to NPR.
The open carry issue is a complicated political hot potato, and the NRA and other organizations are determined to get more states to allow this practice. The Supreme Court will now face this issue for the first time in a decade.