The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week in a case that could end up easing restrictions on carrying concealed handguns, and the court’s two newest members could greatly influence the proceedings, according to CNN.
Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, who were both appointed by former President Donald Trump, signaled during their days as lower court judges that they think the courts should reconsider how gun regulations are evaluated.
Kavanaugh wrote, in a 2011 dissent that involved a ban on semi-automatic weapons, that he thinks Supreme Court precedent dictates that judges shouldn’t "recalibrate the scope of the Second Amendment right" due to a "judicial assessment of whether the law advances a sufficiently compelling or important government interest to override the individual right."
He went on to say that although this could cause complications when it comes to cases that involve conditions that did not exist during the writing of the Constitution, "the Constitution is an enduring document, and its principles were designed to, and do apply to modern conditions."
In a 2019 dissent that involved a felon disarmament law, Barrett wrote that judges should focus on text, history, and tradition, specifically of the founders, when considering a firearm restriction, saying that "history is consistent with common sense," and not whether a law helps to advance an issue important to the government.
Supporters of gun restrictions told CNN that they’re concerned that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the upcoming case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, could lead the lower courts to strike down firearm regulations.
"Given the significant increase in gun violence around the country, the last thing we need is a decision that would allow lower courts to start striking down strong gun laws simply because they can't find what they think is sufficient support for them hundreds of years ago," Eric Tirschwell, the executive director of Everytown Law, told CNN on Friday.
"In some ways the methodological question of how the justices need to analyze these Second Amendment rights are equally important, and maybe even more important in terms of the spillover effects of this case for future cases," Roman Martinez, an attorney at the law firm Latham & Watkins who has made multiple arguments before the court, told CNN.
"The test that the justices develop to assess the New York statute at issue here will then be used by lower courts to assess the constitutionality of gun restrictions imposed by other states and the federal government," he added, saying, "So the stakes are high."
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