As Democrats from President Obama on down amplify calls for bans on assault weapons in the wake of Orlando, the Supreme Court has just weighed in as well. The highest court has just rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in two states, leaving the bans in place — and effectively signaling its position on the constitutionality of this particular restriction on the Second Amendment.
As Fox News reports:
The Supreme Court has rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York, in the aftermath of the shooting attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead.
The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that upheld laws that were passed in response to another mass shooting involving a semi-automatic weapon, the elementary school attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly turned away challenges to gun restrictions since two landmark decisions that spelled out the right to a handgun to defend one’s own home.
In December, less than a month after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented when the court refused to hear an appeal to overturn a Chicago suburb’s ban on assault weapons. Scalia died in February.
Yet another reminder of how absolutely critical this presidential election is to the future our Americans’ Second Amendment rights. With Scalia’s replacement still open, and the likelihood of a few other vacancies opening during the next four years, the next president’s appointees will be nothing less than make-or-break for the Second Amendment. And we know that a President Hillary Clinton would be the “break” in that scenario.
Seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning assault weapons. The others are California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In addition, Minnesota and Virginia regulate assault weapons, the center said.
Connecticut and New York enacted bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in response to the December 2012 massacre of 20 children and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman, Adam Lanza, shot and killed his mother before driving to the school where he gunned down the victims with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. Lanza then killed himself.
In separate but related news, the Senate will vote today on four separate gun control bills, covering changes to background checks as well as restrictions to gun sales for those on the terror watch list — all of which are expected to fail, according to Fox.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]