Second Amendment supporters got slammed with a major defeat today–when the Supreme Court decided to look the other way on a key gun rights case, and reject its appeal.
Everyone except Justice Clarence Thomas, who was livid–and had some choice words for his colleagues on the bench.
The case, Jackson v. San Francisco, was filed by gun owners in San Francisco, who were targeted by a new law that severely limited the use of their handguns. The law states that all handguns kept at home had to be “stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock.”
Obviously, that renders a gun less than useful in the event of a home invasion–when a resident would need to access their weapon quickly, without cracking open a safe.
Because of the Supreme Court’s punt, that law remains on the books. But Justice Thomas wasn’t about to take the defeat sitting down. He wrote:
“Despite the clarity with which we [previously] described the Second Amendment’s core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts, including the ones here, have failed to protect it. Because Second Amendment rights are no less protected by our Constitution than other rights enumerated in that document, I would have granted this petition.”
While the Supreme Court rejecting a suit has no bearing on national gun laws–if a gun owner lives outside of San Francisco, this ruling will have zero effect–it signals a key shift in the way the Supreme Court thinks about the Second Amendment.
In recent years, the Supreme Court has been doing their part to stand up for gun rights. In 2008, they issued a ruling on District of Columbia v. Heller, which overturned a ban on handguns in Washington, D.C. They ruled–quite logicially–that banning handguns altogether was a huge violation of the Second Amendment. And some liberal legal scholars have bemoaned the fact that the Supreme Court was moving to protect gun owners like never before.
But with Jackson v. San Francisco, it looks like the golden age of gun rights might be a thing of the past–and, like Justice Thomas said, it’s a shame, because of how critical America’s Second Amendment rights are to our Constitution.