On June 8, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) chose not to overturn two gun controls in San Francisco, one of which requires gun owners to lock their guns up in their homes and another which bans hollow point ammunition.
The case came to the SCOTUS on appeal from the NRA and gun owners in San Francisco.
The lock-up requirement contains that caveat that the homeowner can leave his or her gun unlocked if it remains on their person and the hollow point ban is worded to prohibit “the sale of ammunition that expands on impact, has ‘no sporting purpose’ and is commonly referred to as hollow-point bullets.”
This is a troublesome decision for gun owners and freedom lovers in two ways:
1. It lets the hollow point ban focus on the “sporting purpose” of a certain ammunition to determine viability. Yet the focus of the Second Amendment is not sport, but self-defense. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Justice Samuel Alito made clear that self-defense is a “the central component of the Second Amendment right.”
2. Heller (2008) and McDonald v Chicago (2010) were seminal SCOTUS decisions that protected the amendment that protects the right to keep and bear arms. Yet both decisions–as crucial as they were–were decided by a 5 to 4 vote in the SCOTUS. In both cases, the viability of the Second Amendment hung by one vote. The denial of cert regarding San Francisco gun control could mean the one vote needed to protect gun rights can no longer be counted on.
On the other hand, the SCOTUS could just be waiting for a circuit split before granting a review.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.