Second Amendment

Before the start of the year, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco continued the trend, started last year with the sanctuary jurisdictions executive order, of cities suing the federal government.

In their recently filed compliant these cities ask a federal district court in Virginia to order the military to comply with a federal statute requiring federal agencies (including the military) to inform the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when the agency “has a record demonstrating” that a person has, among other things, committed a crime that prevents him or her from possessing a firearm.

In a per curiam (unauthored) opinion, which concurring Justices Alito and Thomas call “grudging,” the U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to decide again whether Massachusetts’s stun gun ban is constitutional. Currently eight states and a handful of cities and counties ban stun guns.

The highest state court in Massachusetts held that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect stun guns because they weren’t in common use at the time the Second Amendment was enacted, they are “unusual” as “a thoroughly modern invention,” and they aren’t readily adaptable for use in the military.

Every year the Supreme Court refuses to hear thousands of cases. A denial of certiorari does not mean the Court agrees with the lower court decision. So most cert denials go unnoticed.  

That said, many eyebrows were raised for many reasons when the Court denied cert in Friedman v. City of Highland Park. The issue in the case was whether the City of Highland Park could ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines. 

Since the Supreme Court’s term began in early October it has agreed to hear 15 cases—13 at its “long” conference before the term began and two subsequently. Many will have an impact on the states. And a number will only impact specific states (and a territory!).