Bruen In The Balance: Watching SCOTUS Carefully

June 20, 2024

With the Supreme Court’s 2023-24 session nearing a close, the docket of pending cases remains relatively large.  So large, in fact, that the Court just might extend its own deadlines into July.  The Second Amendment, particularly how the Bruen decision should be applied by lower courts, could figure prominently in the decisions the Court announces in the coming days.

As CRPA President Chuck Michel outlined in a recent interview with CRPA TV’s Kevin Small, the decision in U.S. v. Rahimi provides an opportunity for the justices to clarify how the Bruen standard is applied.  As we saw just last week in the case of B&L Productions v. Newsom, courts are skirting right around even applying Bruen at all simply by claiming that certain firearms, parts, or ammunition was never intended to be covered or the the framers never anticipated that a lawful citizen might actually purchase a firearm.  With the Second Amendment evaded, Bruen doesn’t even apply and we’re back to the days when any restriction is upheld.

As Chuck describes in the interview, a dream scenario could emerge if the Rahimi decision does include such clarification.  With that, the Court could then remand several cases pending cert back to their lower courts to be considered in light of the newly clarified Bruen standard.

The Rahimi decision itself also bears watching, as as the Court will decide whether class-based restrictions on gun rights are constitutional. While 2A opponents and mainstream media reduce this case down to “whether the Court thinks violent domestic abusers should be able to own a gun”, the issue is broader.  Violent offenders can and do have their Second Amendment rights (among others) regularly stripped away on a case by case basis.  But  should the government have the ability to slap a label on a group it doesn’t like and whisk away basic freedoms? That is a far bigger issue.

CRPA will remain vigilant in the fight for fundamental Second Amendment rights and for a clarification of the Bruen standard that prevents the insidious wordsmithing and failed logic some judges use in their continued effort to erode those rights.