The Supreme Court has been doing a very peculiar dance around an appeal from the Ninth Circuit. The appeal in question is a preliminary injunction in the case Jackson v. San Francisco on two regulations. The primary question at hand is whether San Francisco’s ban against keeping guns in the home is any more constitutional than the District of Columbia’s earlier attempt to do that. Also in question is a regulation that bans the sale of expanding ammunition . . .
As the DC Heller decision explicitly noted, explicitly noted:
In Heller, the Supreme Court considered whether the District of Columbia’s regulations, which barred the possession of handguns both inside and outside the home, and required other firearms to be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device,” violated the plaintiff’s Second Amendment rights.
Given that, it’s hard to see how a court could rule such a regulation to be Constitutional on the west coast. But that’s the argument that was made in the District Court ruling, and was upheld by the Ninth Circuit. The rationale was that since Heller did not explicitly require handguns to be locked up at all times that they aren’t carried directly on the body of an adult, the regulation is Constitutional.
This goes directly against “Shall not be Infringed” and instead makes the court rulings a game of “How much infringement can we get away with?” As such, it is a direct challenge to Heller.
If the Supreme Court allows this ruling to stand, they are essentially telling the appellate courts that Heller didn’t really mean what they said it did. We will let you chip away at the right to bear arms until nothing meaningful is left.
The three judge panel on the Ninth Circuit is pushing the Supreme Court to see how much they can get away with. With the new Obama appointees to the Court, it may be that neither side is sure of how the vote will go. The Court has already scheduled the review of the petition for cert. five times. The next scheduled time is May 28th. David Hardy, who follows such matters, says that he has seen cases be rescheduled once, but never as many as four times.
I’ve seen that happen once on cases (maybe the Justices wanted more time to mull it over, maybe the judges couldn’t get to it in time) but never this many.
So something different appears to be going on here.
The justices should send a clear signal to the Ninth Circuit. A petition filed in the case by Paul Clement asks for a summary reversal. From reason.com:
“The Court of Appeals’ conclusion that San Francisco may venture where this Court forbade the District of Columbia to go is so patently wrong that summary reversal would be appropriate.”
It’s hard to know what is going on, but the dithering on what appears to be a clear case isn’t reassuring. If guns can be required to be locked up when not carried, why not require that they be in a retention holster? Why not require weekly inspections to insure that the locking devices are present?
If ammunition that expands can be forbidden for sale, why not limit the ammunition to only approved government-issue rounds for sale in special state ammunition stores with records of every round sold, and a requirement for the return of every spent case? We’ll be watching
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.