The last time we offered a gun control update, we were looking at an uncertain landscape where the Justice Department and the ATF, under the direction of President Biden, were advancing toward a rule change that stripped away protections from homemade gun manufacturers, firearms owners who use a weapon made from 80% lowers or 3D printed frames, and customizers who wanted to go beyond commercially manufactured gun parts to find tailor-made components for their weapons. While the current landscape may not be any more certain, it is at least more hopeful for those, like us at Eagle Shows, who have a passionate and absolute belief in our Second Amendment rights.
New York State Pistol & Rifle Association vs. Bruen
Possibly the most significant shift in gun control is an update to the way gun rulings are to be decided by the court system by the 6-3 majority decision by the Supreme Court in New York State Pistol & Rifle Association vs. Bruen. Brought by a state gun rights group against the state government over New York’s concealed carry laws. We’ve talked before about the process of getting a permit in New York and the requirement that a definite need for self-defense must be shown. While on the surface, this ruling only affected New York and a handful of other states with similar laws, the reality is that it has already had a much farther-reaching influence.
In the decision, speaking for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas based the reasoning of the decision in part on a lack of contemporary societal laws in effect when various applicable Constitutional amendments were enacted. While not weighing in on the merits of any other firearms law, this updated the gun control standards lower courts used when reviewing a piece of legislation. In effect, the burden of proof is placed on the governing body to justify that a law or rule affecting firearms under most circumstances has parallels similar to historical laws of the time period.
This has already opened a floodgate of filings across the country from gun owners, manufacturers, retailers, and rights groups seeking to test existing gun control laws under these updated guidelines. While only a limited number of gun rulings based on the Supreme Court precedent have been handed down, the climate is no longer business as usual in the halls of power. While some regulatory agencies are working to find a way to render their gun control laws “judicial-resistant” by adding or revising language in an attempt to create a justifiable parallel, others are coming to terms with their loss of a legislative control mechanism by adding to the fear-mongering popular in the mainstream media that without ineffective laws we’re all subject to unfettered gun violence.
While it’s tempting to view this as the relief from overreach we’ve all been waiting for, it’s far from the final word on the matter. Some courts have used the updated gun control test to find existing laws unconstitutional, not every case has been a win. Gun control activists and politicians have been invigorated in the wake of the decision, redoubling their fundraising and lobbying efforts while working to craft restrictive laws with historical precedent. Finally, while this court may have established a new basis for gun control rulings, future courts may not agree, choosing instead to change the course of gun control in the United States once again.
New Calls For An Assault Weapons Ban
In the wake of the media frenzy after recent mass shootings, specifically in Colorado and Virginia, President Biden has renewed his calls for an assault weapons ban. Predictably, this call has been joined by the usual mix of gun control advocates, politicians, and media talking heads reacting out of fear and outrage. In both cases, these shootings were perpetrated by clearly disturbed individuals in a mental health crisis who turned to a horrible, criminal act.
The laws they broke in the taking of human life are some of the strictest and most severe enacted in our society. In the face of their willingness to break those laws, there is no logical justification that still more laws would have prevented the choices they made. In the moments following a tragedy, there is an unreconcilable pain that demands action, but action without consideration will only lead to more pain.
There is no such thing as an “assault weapon”. That is a term coined by the media to provide a scary label for adaptable semi-automatic rifles, carbines, and pistols that are meant to be tactical self-defense tools for law-abiding gun owners. Make no mistake–that is exactly who a ban would injure. Law-abiding gun owners already possess tens of thousands of these “bogeyman” firearms and have for half a century. They’ve been used at range, in shooting competitions, as ranch guns, for hunting, and in defense of property and lives.
Expect State and Federal authorities to announce new legislation and rule-changing initiatives aimed at curtailing access to firearms deemed “assault weapons” or attempts to preclude undesirable features. While the above Supreme Court case may seem to aid gun owners in their fight against updates to gun control overreach, it also provides a road map of justification. No one can know how closely a court will read the analogous link between firearms laws separated by centuries, and as any operator will tell you, complacency breeds failure.
Maintaining Your Gun Rights
You’re already taking the first step to preserving your freedoms by staying informed. Tyranny thrives in the dark. Stay informed about legislative initiatives and upcoming cases in the state and federal court systems. That way, you know when and how you can make an impact.
Next, join a gun rights group that will fight for you. Gun control doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and there are groups out there that are ready to fight for you. Some, like the New York State Pistol & Rifle Association, will go toe-to-toe with government officials in a court of law. They have lawyers that are well-versed in litigation that are ready to go. Others work behind the scenes, lobbying politicians, supporting campaigns, and organizing grass-roots initiatives to effect real change.
Finally, live your lifestyle. The best way to combat the narrative of the “dangerous, unhinged gun owner” is to be the responsible good neighbor gun owner that we all remember from the good ol’ days of truck window gun racks and weekend shoots. Learn to use your weapons the right way, store them safely, and use them appropriately.
We’re With You
Be sure to follow our blog for the latest in firearms news, gun control rulings, and weapon legislation. Whatever gun control updates we need to bring you in the coming months, know that we’re not just Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show. We’re gun owners who are your friends, family, and neighbors, doing the work to protect your rights, advocate for your Second Amendment freedoms, and give you safe, legal spaces to buy, sell, and trade firearms in. To find your next firearm, meet your neighbors, and gather with other freedom-loving patriots from your neck of the woods, book your local gun show tickets from Eagle Shows today.