In two hours, Washington goes in two directions regarding weapons

WASHINGTON — The nation’s capital, which has so often been the backdrop for inaction, has rarely witnessed anything like this as the two branches of government diverged in opposite directions over weapons, one of the nation’s most contentious issues, for two hours on one day. .

On Thursday, just after 12:30 p.m., the Senate pushed forward a bipartisan gun control bill that, despite being gradual, is still the most important gun safety measure in decades. At 10:30 a.m., the Supreme Court struck a decisive, partisan blow to gun regulations, shifting national firearms policy to the right, perhaps for years.

The result was a monumental victory in the gun rights movement’s courts and a less significant but important legislative achievement for those who demanded a response to the recent massacres in Buffalo and Uvalda, Texas. national gun policy in an era of mass shootings, rising crime, and a growing conservative drive to expand gun rights and coverage of the Second Amendment.

“What a day,” said Adam Skaggs, general counsel for the Giffords Law Center, the legal arm of the national gun safety group created by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona and survived a 2011 shooting near Tucson.

“The Senate finally came to a bipartisan consensus on these reforms, mainly because a group of Republican senators heard from their constituents that something needs to be done,” he added. “Then the Supreme Court completely takes over with an interpretation of gun rights that is completely inconsistent with what Democrats, independents and even many Republicans wanted.

“Where does it all go from here?”

The court’s decision to strike down New York City’s 100-year-old law restricting the carrying of guns in public places is the most sweeping decision on firearms in recent years and only the second major court ruling on the right to keep and bear arms.

In the majority’s view, Justice Clarence Thomas compared the restrictions on Second Amendment rights to the restrictions on the right to free expression under the First Amendment and the Sixth Amendment right of every American to “be before witnesses against him”. Critics were quick to point out that the exercise of these rights rarely involved the use of lethal force.

In the short term, the powers that be are forcing five states, including New York, California and New Jersey, to drastically loosen gun regulations.

In his extensive 130-page opinion, Judge Thomas wrote that states could continue to ban guns from “sensitive” public places such as schools, courthouses and government buildings, but warned that local authorities should not categorize such places too broadly.

“To put it simply,” he added, “New York City has no historical reason to declare Manhattan Island a ‘sensitive place’ just because it is overcrowded and under the protection of the New York City Police Department.”

While the majority’s decision did not directly address federal firearms regulation, Justice Department lawyers are evaluating the implications of the decision for their procedures. They believe some restrictions, such as those on carrying guns in courts, will remain in place, but they are less confident about restrictions at post offices, museums and other places where guns are currently banned.

While many expected the court to weaken the state’s gun laws, the timing was a bit of a surprise: Most aides in the Capitol and the White House believed in the widely anticipated ruling in the New York State Riflemen and Pistols Association v. Bruen case. comes next week as the court approached the deadline code expected to be limited to the end of Roe v. Wade.

This week’s focus was on the Senate, which managed to reach a hard-won compromise on a package of gun regulations that would expand background checks for potential gun buyers under the age of 21, including serious dating partners in law. it prevents domestic abusers from buying firearms and allocates federal money for state “red flag” laws to temporarily take guns away from people deemed dangerous.

A final vote on the package, which was expected to win some Republican support, was expected possibly as early as Thursday night. As such, June 23, 2022 will be one of the most important days in America’s tumultuous centuries of gun history.

The Supreme Court decision, which Lisa Monaco, Justice Department official No. 2, called “deeply disappointing,” while cocky New York City Mayor Eric Adams vowed to keep the city from turning into a “wild, wild West.” seen as helping Democrats justify Senate passage of the bill.

Gun violence laws are different today than they were just 48 hours ago,” said Chris Brown, president of Brady, one of the nation’s oldest gun control groups. “This decision only underscored the urgent need for the Senate to take action and pass this bill.”

Gun rights organizations, in turn, hailed the decision as a necessary constitutional check against the growing restrictions imposed in New York, California, New Jersey and other states. “The court has made it clear that the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment is not limited to the home,” said Larry Keane, a senior official with the arms industry’s leading trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The decision gave some political cover to Senate Republicans, who backed a gun control bill that brought its top Republican sponsor, Texas Senator John Cornyn, fired upon by gun rights activists at last week’s state caucus.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, followed up with a statement welcoming the bipartisan legislation, and vehemently defended gun rights after the decision.

“Great day for the Second Amendment,” he wrote. “The Supreme Court’s decision is yet another example of reinforcing the concept that the Second Amendment is a personal right based on the ability to protect oneself and property.”

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