Here Comes the Next Big Supreme Court Gun-Rights Case

For several years, the Supreme Court has been ducking gun-rights cases. In 2008 the justices for the first time declared individuals have a Second Amendment right to keep a handgun in the home. They expanded on that 5 to 4 ruling two years later, clarifying that it applied to all states. And then the court became gun-shy.

The justices lately have declined to hear an appeal in a New Jersey case on the constitutionality of local officials’ discretion over whether to issue permits for the concealed carrying of handguns. The court also steered clear of a case challenging Texas’ ban on concealed carry by people under 21.

This hesitancy may soon end, however, now that a judge has struck down Washington’s ban on carrying a pistol publicly. “There is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” federal Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. ruled in a decision made public on July 26. “Therefore, the court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.” If the ruling is upheld by an intermediate appellate court, the justices could be forced to return to the radioactive Second Amendment.

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