WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Second Amendment is virtually certain to be argued before the Supreme Court this fall, as the justices receive two petitions only days apart asking them to apply the right to keep and bear arms.
On Jan. 12, former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement—one of the finest Supreme Court litigators of this generation—filed a petition for certiorari in Peruta v. California, backed by the full support of the National Rifle Association of America.
As Breitbart News’s previous report explains in greater detail, in Peruta, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a California law under which an elderly citizen was denied a permit to carry a handgun because his general desire to have a handgun for self-defense was not sufficient “good cause” for him to receive a permit.
The question presented in the petition is “Whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law.”
This comes on the heels of current Acting Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn petitioning the Supreme Court to hear arguments to overturn a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where a divided court held that the lifetime ban in federal law on felons possessing firearms cannot be applied to some nonviolent individuals who committed relatively minor crimes many years ago.
The Philadelphia-based appeals court held in Binderup v. Lynch that applying the law to all such people goes too far, and violates the Second Amendment. The U.S. government is now asking the High Court to reverse that decision.
Clement has argued over 80 cases before the Supreme Court, and the justices frequently grant review in cases that he asserts are worthy of the Court’s time.
Gershengorn represents the U.S. government. The Court virtually always grants the federal government’s request to hear a case when a federal law has been struck down.
The Supreme Court has only decided a total of two major Second Amendment cases, both of them recent: Heller in 2008, and McDonald in 2010. So the impact of a third—and possibly fourth—case could be tremendous.
If review is granted in either case, arguments are expected in October, with a decision likely in the first half of 2018.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.