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SLATE: Gun Owners, Public Defenders Unlikely Allies in Supreme Court Case

By: Teresa Mull

The gun control debate is creating some unlikely allies at the national level. It's a Christmas miracle!

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen challenges New York State’s law that requires people seeking to carry a firearm outside his or her home to show “proper cause” for doing so.

In a surprising article this week, uber-liberal online magazine Slate.com notes how conservative gun rights advocates have found common ground with typically left-leaning public defenders.

In NYSRPA v Bruen, Slate reports, Sharone Mitchell Jr., a public defender in Chicago, thinks less restrictive gun laws are key to solving over-incarceration.

In Slate’s recent podcast, What’s Next? Mitchell told the host:

Sharone Mitchell Jr.: I see the people that we’re prosecuting. I think about the young man that I defended who had a gun in his bag that was licensed in another state and he accidentally took it to a bar, and his life was over. That ruined his life. He lost his job, he lost his housing, we had to go to trial. That ruined his life. I think it is understandable to look very early on at this approach and say, of course we should give people felonies for not possessing guns in the correct way. But when you really look at the results and you look at what’s actually happening on the ground, it’s tough to hold that same thought.

You can read the full article and listen to the podcast here.

More background on the NYSRPA case:

The court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller ruled the Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

In NYSRPA v Bruen, the petitioners are aiming to obtain a ruling on “whether the Second Amendment allows the government to prohibit ordinary law-abiding citizens from carrying handguns outside the home for self-defense.”

SCOTUSBlog.com reports, The case involves a 108-year-old handgun-licensing law in New York – but if the justices side with the challengers, their decision could jeopardize gun-control laws in other states and cities across the country. The court’s decision is likely to be a major ruling on gun rights…”

Both sides of the case have had dozens of friends file amicus briefs. Notably, 26 attorneys generals joined the pro-Second Amendment side of things to declare the New York law unconstitutional.

On New York State’s side is a host of anti-gun groups, including the Biden administration.

The court isn’t expected to issue a decision until mid-2022, but the civilian disarmament proponents seem nervous. The LA Times is hopeful, writing that a petition for a writ of certiorari gives “gun safety proponents reason for cautious optimism.”

Other media outlets, however, are not reporting such a rosy picture: The New York Times writes, “The gun safety movement finds itself on the precipice of disaster.”

The AP reports: “Eric Tirschwell, the legal director at Everytown for Gun Safety, said there’s ‘reason to be concerned’ for groups like his that ‘a type of law that the court was not interested in or willing to review in the past, they now are.’”

And over at Vox, they’re reporting, “More than a century of gun laws are potentially on the chopping block.”

Let's hope so!

Teresa Mull (teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.

 
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