Locked and loaded - Supreme Court weighs the balance of power in gun rights - Hindustan Times
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Locked and loaded - Supreme Court weighs the balance of power in gun rights

Nov 19, 2023 11:49 PM IST

Supreme Court to tackle gun ownership boundaries in pivotal Second Amendment cases.

In a pivotal moment for the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court is set to tackle cases that could redefine the boundaries of gun ownership. These cases, ranging from nonviolent crimes to domestic violence disputes, signal a critical juncture for the court's conservative majority.

A customer holds a gun for sale at a store in Pompano Beach, Florida, US, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Anxiety about antisemitism is causing some people to rethink their reluctance to own a firearm and the Sunshine State's laws make it easier to obtain one. (Bloomberg)
A customer holds a gun for sale at a store in Pompano Beach, Florida, US, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Anxiety about antisemitism is causing some people to rethink their reluctance to own a firearm and the Sunshine State's laws make it easier to obtain one. (Bloomberg)

The Biden administration has queued up several cases challenging federal gun laws, with a particular focus on nonviolent offences. One such case involves Bryan Range, whose 1995 conviction for falsifying income on a food stamp application led to a lifetime ban on owning a gun. The administration warns that overturning such bans could flood the courts with felons seeking to restore their gun rights, potentially endangering public safety.

Another case, involving Zackey Rahimi, centers on whether individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders should be barred from owning guns. Advocates on both sides of the gun debate anxiously await the court's decision, as it could set a precedent for similar laws restricting access to firearms.

The court's conservative majority, established in the NYSRPA v. Bruen case, emphasized the importance of grounding gun prohibitions in history. Gun rights groups, watching closely, predict the court may limit the application of federal laws to individuals deemed "dangerous," potentially weakening other gun regulations.

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The cases also delve into the intersection of drugs and gun ownership. Patrick Darnell Daniels Jr.'s conviction for possessing a gun while using illegal drugs raises questions about the justification for disarming individuals based on past drug usage. The government argues that drug users pose risks justifying firearm restrictions.

As the Supreme Court navigates these cases, the decisions could reshape the landscape of Second Amendment interpretation. Janet Carter, from the gun control group Everytown Law, emphasizes the need for a balanced approach to gun safety laws, while gun rights groups, led by Alan Gottlieb, anticipate potential challenges to existing regulations.

The outcomes of these cases will not only impact the lives of those involved but also influence the broader conversation surrounding gun ownership and public safety in the United States.

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