Gun owners nationwide won big wen the Supreme Court handed down the Bruen decision declaring New York’s may-issue concealed carry permitting system unconstitutional. The court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled that the Second Amendment effectively means what it says, and ended the two-part interest balancing test that courts had used to sidestep the Heller decision in Second Amendment court cases for ten-plus years.
The Bruen decision goes far beyond New York and will have implications for every state in the union. For deep blue states, however, it portends major changes in long-time gun control schemes.
For example, as a Land of Lincoln resident, I can see what it means for our state. If your state has a blue or purple tinge to it, you’ll probably see some similar changes.
But first, if you listen to the Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee (G-PAC), one of the best-funded anti-gun groups in Illinois, they claim it doesn’t change a thing. At the same time, the G-PAC press release reads like an intern wrote it after getting back from a long lunch at the local cannabis dispensary.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in the New York case does not threaten any of our Illinois gun laws. It explicitly affirms the constitutionality of concealed carry permit laws like the one Illinois adopted in 2013,” said Kathleen Sances, President & CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC. “The ruling also recognizes that states may adopt a variety of regulations on who may own or carry guns and the types of guns that are lawful. We will continue to work for the effective enforcement of our existing laws and for new commonsense laws that are constitutional.”
Meanwhile, Illinois’ Attorney General Kwame Raoul makes similar claims.
“Today’s decision striking down New York’s statutory scheme does not affect Illinois’ concealed-carry laws or other gun safety measures, and the steps that we have taken as an office to prevent gun violence and build safe communities remain preserved. In fact, the Supreme Court’s opinion cites Illinois as being among those states whose laws are not affected by the decision.
“In the wake of the numerous occurrences of shocking gun violence that have taken place around the country, we continue to do all we can. My office vigorously defends Illinois’ gun safety laws, prosecutes gun trafficking cases and individuals making false statements on FOID applications, and supports programs to assist crime victims and prevent community violence. We are also working with law enforcement and community partners to develop a state-of-the-art crime-gun tracing database for the state of Illinois.”
Obviously he didn’t finish anywhere near the top of his law school class and neither did the junior staffer who wrote that.
Getting away from the wishful makebelieve of gun control activists, here’s what the Bruen decision will mean in the real world…eventually . . .
The FOID card is dead. There were no Firearm Owner ID cards back in the 1700s. Illinois adopted their FOID scheme in 1968 specifically to make gun ownership more difficult for African-Americans.
In fact, Guns Save Life has sought a summary judgement along those lines in our existing lawsuit challenging the FOID Act’s constitutionality. Given the speed at which the justice system operates, you won’t be surprised to learn the summary judgement briefs are due in November.
When the FOID Act is eventually struck from the books, expect off-the-charts screeching from Chicago and Springfield. Heck, our state’s cannabis dispensaries may see a run on product as gun-haters struggle to cope with the loss.
Gun and magazine bans will fall. We shall soon say “Bye Felicia!” to gun and magazine bans, like those on the books in Chicago, Highland Park, Aurora and Deerfield. In fact SCOTUS has already sent a gun ban case and a magazine ban case back to their respective circuit courts to decide in accordance with the Bruen decision.
Fewer legally prohibited locations. The Bruen decision outlines that government may prohibit carry in “sensitive” areas with historical precedent from the 1700 and 1800s. No doubt government attorneys will argue for a plethora of “sensitive” locations, but they don’t have any historical precedent to support most. And one definition of “sensitive location” we can all agree upon includes security screening with metal detectors.
Arbitrary bans on carrying guns on mass transit will be among the first to go in Illinois. Signs will also come down at parks, playgrounds and non-sensitive government facilities (like highway rest areas, libraries and community centers). Also, the prohibition on carry for special events and protests will also likely fail to meet strict scrutiny.
Homebrew gun crafting. Americans have been building guns at home without regulatory requirements to register them with the government or serialize them since the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. Prairie State Governor Pritzker’s new “ghost gun” ban will face big legal hurdles to remain in effect.
The mandatory registration of private gun sales, due to take effect January 1, 2024 will also be on our agenda to chuck into the dust bin of history. People didn’t have to register private gun sales with the government in the 1700s or the 1800s. There’s no reason they should be forced to do so now.
Extensive training “requirements” to carry will be eliminated. We at Guns Save Life suspect the 16-hour mandated training requirement for concealed carry licenses may also meet the buzz saw, along with the exorbitant application fee of $153, not to mention the four months of processing time for permit applicants. These were clearly put in place to discourage as many citizens as possible from jumping through the legally required hoops. After all, how many states required all that before carrying a firearm outside the home back in the late 1700s?
Spoiler alert: NONE
Yes, Bruen noted that existing “shall issue” carry laws are constitutional. However, a footnote on page 30 may prove quite important in the coming challenges.
…That said, because any permitting scheme can be put toward abusive ends, we do not rule out constitutional challenges to shall-issue regimes where, for example, lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.
That sounds like it was written with Illinois in mind.
Here’s the problem
politicians political hacks leading Illinois aren’t going to roll over and play nice. They only follow the rule of law when it suits them. Or when they have no other choice. They’re probably going to stubbornly thumb their noses at Bruen just like they thumb their noses as federal immigration laws.
It will be up to intrepid gun owners and groups like Guns Save Life, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition and others to challenge these restrictive existing laws. While we have limited resources for court actions at GSL, we’ve already had people making donations towards funding those coming fights.
Democrats at the state capitol in Springfield have been known to ignore the courts and laws before. Our state’s political leaders may rationalize flipping SCOTUS the bird on Bruen as allowing them to delay the inevitable for a couple of years as the lawsuits wind through the courts. Even though Democrats’ own lawyers have told leaders of their caucus that gun bans are a non-starter in courts.
Rest assured, we’re going after the lowest-hanging fruit, focusing on laws that adversely impact the most residents first. Clearly, we have our work cut out for us, as do gun rights orgs in numerous other states in our union.
The bottom line is that the Bruen decision will ultimately make our nation safer for the law-abiding. After all, anything that restricts law-abiding citizens from exercising legal gun ownership and carrying firearms for self-defense makes the streets more dangerous for the good guys and safer for criminals.