NEW GIFFORDS MEMO: Confusion in the Courts after Bruen
Washington DC — Today, GIFFORDS Law Center released a new memo analyzing the state of play in the courts for gun laws after the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision from the Supreme Court. The Bruen decision has led to a number of challenges to widely popular gun laws. The majority of these cases have upheld existing laws and only a minority have struck them down.
William Clark, Litigation Attorney, GIFFORDS Law Center:
“The radical NYSRPA v. Bruen decision from the extreme majority on the Supreme Court has led to an unprecedented number of challenges to firearms laws across the United States and raised questions about what measures federal, state, and local governments can use to address the epidemic of gun violence in America.
“Bruen has caused a great deal of confusion and disruption as lower federal courts struggled to follow the new methodology it mandated. But our analysis shows that even after Bruen, courts are upholding state, federal, and local gun laws against Second Amendment challenges. Most courts have recognized that, when properly applied, Bruen allows for a wide range of gun violence prevention laws.
“At the same time, a small number of ideologically-driven judges have weaponized Bruen to strike down long-standing gun laws. The Supreme Court needs to step in to correct these outlier decisions and make clear that Bruen does not prevent legislators from exercising their traditional powers to enact commonsense gun laws that will save lives.”
- The aftermath of Bruen has seen an unprecedented number of lawsuits challenging various gun laws, with more than 450 decisions analyzing the case in Second Amendment challenges—more than double the number seen in the first year after Heller.
- Despite the high number of challenges, the majority of courts have upheld gun laws, with approximately 88% of cases post-Bruen—rising to 93% in criminal cases—favoring the constitutionality of gun laws.
- Courts have upheld a wide range of gun violence prevention laws, including commercial regulations of firearms, assault weapon and large-capacity magazine restrictions, ghost gun restrictions, sensitive place laws, permit and licensing laws, and others.
- However, a concerning trend reveals that judges appointed by Republican presidents have accounted for the majority (87%) of cases striking down gun laws post-Bruen, misapplying the decision’s framework and demanding strict historical twins as justifications for modern firearms regulations.
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