by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Gun-rights activists have filed a slew of new cases in hopes Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court will lead to an expansion of gun protections.
Groups like the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, and National Rifle Association have filed numerous federal cases against restrictive gun laws across the country with the intention of taking as many as possible to the Supreme Court. They hope to not only strike down restrictive laws in places like Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey but also further clarify the reach of the Second Amendment. New rulings, they believe, could change American gun laws forever by forcing judges in lower courts to a formal standard of review in Second Amendment cases.
“We started this process and planning as soon as Trump nominated [Barrett],” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, which has already filed half a dozen new cases in recent weeks, told the Washington Free Beacon. “And, of course, as soon as she was confirmed, we started ramping it up to make it happen.”
“The lawsuits you’re seeing are part of a long-term strategic litigation,” Adam Kraut, director of legal strategy for the Firearms Policy Coalition, told the Free Beacon of the group’s recent surge in suits. “The confirmation of Justice Barrett, who seemingly would provide a fair analysis, is something that was part of the analysis that went into the timing of it.”
The Supreme Court has been reluctant to take on gun-rights cases since striking down local and state gun restrictions in the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010) decisions. Justices have only ruled on one Second Amendment case in the past decade and declined a slate of new suits in June.