The Supreme Court session just ending has produced two key Second Amendment rulings, one pro, one con.
Here’s the pro: The Supremes have declined to take up an appeal of a lower court’s overturning a law that stripped citizens guilty of certain misdemeanors of their Second Amendment rights. Excerpt:
Last September, a 15-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pennsylvania disagreed 8-7, siding with Binerup and Suarez in a lengthy 174-page decision. In the end, that panel cited the relatively minor sentences passed on the two men as the reason to disregard their crimes as being serious enough to void their gun rights.
Binderup pleaded guilty in 1996 in Pennsylvania to a misdemeanor charge of corrupting a minor — a 17-year-old he was in a relationship with — to which he received three years’ probation and a $300 fine rather than the maximum of five years in prison.
Suarez pleaded guilty in 1990 to unlawfully carrying a handgun without a license in Maryland, which could have resulted in as much as three years in prison but instead received an 180-day suspended sentence and $500 fine.
While neither spent a day in jail, both lost their firearms rights under a federal law that treats those convicted of state misdemeanors which can be punished by two or more years in jail as prohibited firearms possessors.
I call this a good start. A misdemeanor isn’t cause to lose a Constitutionally defined right. I also think that, while it’s right that convicted felons lose some of their rights, those who pay their debt to society and have redeemed themselves should have those rights returned, which takes a considerable court battle now.
Here’s the con: The Supremes are letting California’s restrictive may-issue concealed-carry law stand. Excerpt:
The nation’s highest court swatted away a chance to let lower courts know it meant what it said in its 2008 Heller decision over gun rights issues by taking the case of a San Diego man, Edward Peruta, whose saga to obtain a permit in that county started in 2009 and has been in federal court ever since his subsequent refusal because he could not show “good cause” as to why he felt the need to carry a gun.
Submitted to the high court in January, Peruta has been distributed for conference by the justices 12 times, needing just four of the jurists to agree to accept the case for review. However, even with the addition of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch in recent weeks, the petition was denied on Monday.
Gorsuch did, nonetheless, join conservative bulwark Justice Clarence Thomas, in a scathing eight-page dissent, springing to the defense of the merits of the Peruta case.
One of the few good things coming out of this is confirming the good choice President Trump made in appointing Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the fight goes on.