ICYMI: Gun Rights Are on Trial in 2021

One of the most important constitutional issues that has been raised since Joe Biden took office is the state of the Second Amendment in the United States. On April 8th, he announced his gun control agenda to be implemented through executive orders:

Biden is asking the Justice Department (DOJ) to propose within a month a rule to stop "ghost guns," which are "kits" people can buy legally to assemble a functioning firearm that does not have a serial number. 

Biden is also asking the DOJ to propose within 60 days a rule on braces used for handguns, which make them more accurate; to propose action on "community violence intervention"; to publish suggestions for "red flag" legislation; and is asking his administration to issue a report on gun trafficking. 

Biden also formally announced David Chipman as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

President Biden also announced his support for gun control measures proposed by Democrats in Congress. Since the announcement, he has doubled down on his calls for the Legislative Branch to act.

The White House face sheet on their gun control proposals can be read here.

State leaders have already taken action in response to Biden's orders. States such as Oklahoma and Montana have signed legislation declaring their states "sanctuary states" for the Second Amendment. States' attorneys general have also signaled that they will be fighting back against overreach by the federal government through litigation.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will weigh in on the Second Amendment in the coming year. Last week, the Court agreed to hear New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Corlett. This case will be the first gun rights case the Court has heard in over a decade. Here are some details about the case from The Federalist:

In New York State Rifle, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch challenged New York’s denial of their applications to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun. In New York, citizens are banned entirely from the open carry of handguns, while permitting citizens to carry a concealed handgun upon issuance of a license. However, members of the general public, such as Nash and Koch, may only be granted a license under New York law “when proper cause exists.”

“Proper cause” is not defined by statute, but state courts have ruled that “an applicant seeking a license to carry a handgun for self-defense “must ‘demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.’” Living in a high-crime area is insufficient.

The state denied Nash and Koch permits to carry concealed handguns, concluding they failed to establish “proper cause.” Nash and Koch sued in a federal district court to challenge the law, claiming requiring them to establish “proper cause” to arm themselves in public violated their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in self-defense.

To learn more about emerging Second Amendment issues, join us on Friday for this week's members webinar, "Gun Rights on Trial: SCOTUS & Biden Take On 2nd Amendment Issues," at 2 p.m. ET. Register here today!