SCOTUS Decision Sweeps Away Lower
Courts 'Interest-Weighing' Tests On Guns

By Larry Keane. June 28, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen did more than strike New York’s “may issue” subjective concealed carry permitting scheme. The ruling also told lower courts that attempting to balance the individual’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms against the government’s interest in controlling that right violates the Constitution.

In other words, the Supreme Court told the lower courts to cut it out.

That’s significant, since it was a practice adopted by lower courts to seemingly always justify keeping gun control laws in place that ranged from subjective “may issue” concealed carry permitting laws to bans on entire classes of commonly-owned firearms and standard-capacity magazines.

The majority 6-3 opinion specifically singled out the court’s “two-step” process that has been applied to Second Amendment cases. That was a legal theory proposed by Justice Stephen Breyer in his dissent in District of Columbia v. Heller, but which the majority expressly rejected.

“Despite the popularity of this two-step approach, it is one step too many,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in his opinion which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. .....

"Justice Thomas went to lengths to explain why means-end tests don’t pass Constitutional muster. In the end, the government will always find reason for the government to prevail. That strikes at the heart of enumerated rights – those rights which are endowed by an individual’s Creator and expressly belong to the individual, not the government."


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