In the Wake of the Deadliest School Shooting Since Sandy Hook, Courts Continue to Reject Gun Lobby’s Extreme Arguments
NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, today applauded the announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court saying it would let stand a Ninth Circuit decision in Silvester v. Becerra upholding California’s ten-day waiting period for firearm purchases.
STATEMENT FROM ERIC TIRSCHWELL, LITIGATION DIRECTOR FOR EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“Once again the Supreme Court has refused to entertain the gun lobby’s extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment. The courts are continuing to recognize that states have the authority to pass reasonable public safety laws to protect their citizens from gun violence.”
Tuesday’s announcement in Silvester v. Becerra (a case previously titled Silvester v. Harris) follows a unanimous decision last year in which a Ninth Circuit panel upheld California’s ten-day waiting period for firearm purchases as applied to people who already owned firearms and had passed a background check. Everytown’s amicus brief on this case is available here.
Last year, in courts from Missouri to Florida, lawyers for the National Rifle Association and other gun lobby groups tried to convince American judges that the Second Amendment leaves no room for reasonable gun safety laws. They failed time and time again.
Equally significant, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a number of lower court decisions affirming the constitutionality of a range of gun safety laws. Again, the gun lobby continued to fail.
A list of key legal developments in 2017, including rulings in cases in which Everytown for Gun Safety filed an amicus brief, is below:
December 5, 2017 – in Gould v. O’Leary, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment in favor of the cities of Boston and Brookline, upholding their requirement that applicants for concealed carry permits make a showing of need before being issued licenses to carry in public. Everytown’s amicus brief in the case is available here.
November 27, 2017 – In Norman v. Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would let stand a Florida Supreme Court ruling that upheld Florida’s law prohibiting the open carry of firearms in public. In March, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the state law in question, rejecting the National Rifle Association’s arguments that the prohibition violated the Second Amendment and referring to the lengthy history of state regulation of public carrying of firearms – history that Everytown laid out in detail in its February 2016 amicus brief urging the court to uphold the law.
November 27, 2017 – In Kolbe v. Hogan, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not hear an appeal of a ruling in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld Maryland’s prohibition on the sale of large-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Relying on the language of Justice Antonin Scalia in Heller v. District of Columbia, the Fourth Circuit found in February that large-capacity magazines and assault weapons were not protected under the Second Amendment. Everytown’s amicus brief on the case is available here.
October 26, 2017 – In Northwest School of Safety et al. v. Ferguson et al., the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of I-594, Washington state’s background check ballot measure. After the passage of I-594 in 2014, a group of plaintiffs led by the Second Amendment Foundation challenged the law as a violation of the Second Amendment. Everytown for Gun Safety intervened in the suit to defend the law. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed the case, finding the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit, the plaintiffs appealed the decision, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal.
June 26, 2017 – In Peruta v. County of San Diego, the United States Supreme Court said it would let stand a Ninth Circuit ruling that upheld San Diego’s requirement that a member of the public needs a good cause to carry a concealed handgun in public. As a result, San Diego’s permitting standards will remain intact. Everytown’s amicus brief in the case, filed 2015 in the Ninth Circuit, is available here.
June 23, 2017 – In Zoological Park District v. Jeffry K. Smith, a St. Louis Circuit Judge confirmed that firearms may not legally be brought onto the premises of the St. Louis Zoo.
February 17, 2017 – In Wollschlaeger v. Florida, the 11th Circuit ruled unconstitutional under the First Amendment a 2011 Florida doctor gag order law that forbade doctors from making it standard practice to ask their patients about guns, record their answers or engage in discussions about gun safety that could be perceived as harassing towards gun-owning patients. The Moms Demand Action amicus brief on this case is available here.