Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Less Gun Control Likely in Wake of Uvalde, Texas, School Massacre

Gun owners will tell their communities are safer, with less crime, when everyday people are armed and ready to defend their lives and the lives of others. Taking away the basic right to bear arms only empowers  criminals, who flout whatever regulations are in place or those coming down the pike.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court may make it easier for individuals to carry arms in public spaces, which if it turns out that way, will have a very significant effect on California.

At the Los Angeles Times, "U.S. gun laws are getting looser, not stronger, despite more mass shootings":

In recent weeks, a string of devastating shootings — at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., a church in Laguna Woods, and now an elementary school in little Uvalde, Texas — has renewed calls for tighter gun restrictions.

Just hours after a teenage gunman killed at least 19 children and two adults at a Texas elementary school Tuesday, an emotional President Biden demanded: “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a series of furious tweets Tuesday, asked, “Who the hell are we if we cannot keep our kids safe. This is preventable. Our inaction is a choice. We need nationwide, comprehensive, commonsense gun safety now.”

Experts, however, say the opposite — the loosening of gun laws — is almost certainly coming instead.

That’s despite the 10 shoppers and grocery workers gunned down in a largely Black neighborhood on May 14. The elderly Taiwanese churchgoers terrorized a day later. The elementary school students shot dead Tuesday at Robb Elementary School.

“If your reaction to these kind of atrocities is, ‘Well, where is the political will to move the needle on regulation?’ the truth is that the space for that kind of regulatory move is becoming narrower and narrower, both as a matter of constitutional law but also as a matter of state law,” said Darrell A.H. Miller, a Duke law professor and expert on the 2nd Amendment and other gun laws.

By this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision undoing a long-standing New York law that forbids individuals from carrying guns in public without first demonstrating a “special need” for self-defense.

Depending on how narrowly the court tailors its decision, the ruling could have sweeping implications for similar concealed carry restrictions all across the country and especially in liberal states like California, Miller and other 2nd Amendment scholars said.

If the court issues a broad decision — such as one that implies regulations on guns that aren’t historically based are unconstitutional — even more gun control legislation could become vulnerable to challenges, the scholars said.

“Any day now the Supreme Court could hand down its decision in the New York concealed carry case and make it much harder for states like California to regulate guns in the name of public safety,” said Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor.

Miller said the “trend line is definitely [toward] ever more expansive gun rights,” not gun restrictions, and that there will almost certainly be “a flurry of litigation” from gun rights advocates targeting additional state gun control measures once the Supreme Court issues its decision in the New York case.

Pro-gun rights groups have been slowly building toward such an outcome for years, scholars said, and feel that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority — bolstered by former President Trump’s three appointees — shares their interests in scaling back gun restrictions nationwide. At the same time, Miller said, many lawmakers in red states feel emboldened to bolster gun rights now — even in the face of tragedies such as what happened in Uvalde, where a teacher, at least one other adult and 19 elementary school children were killed by a gun-wielding 18-year-old who was later shot to death by a Border Patrol agent.

Before the school massacre, the black-clad gunman allegedly shot and wounded his grandmother.

“Even absent action by the Supreme Court of the United States, the demonstrated reaction of red states in particular to atrocities like what just occurred in Texas and what just occurred in Buffalo — what was it, last week? — is not to actually reconsider or even consider any sort of gun regulations, but ever more expansive gun rights,” Miller said.

Miller was one of several law professors who filed what’s known as an amicus brief with the high court in the New York case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. vs. Bruen, in which they argued against a far-reaching decision suggesting that any gun regulation not grounded in early U.S. history is unconstitutional...