Supreme Court leaves state assault weapons bans in place
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court Monday rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York, in the aftermath of the shooting attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead.
The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that upheld laws that were passed in response to another mass shooting involving a semi-automatic weapon, the Sandy Hook tragedy. The law bans certain semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly turned away challenges to gun restrictions since two landmark decisions that spelled out the right to a handgun to defend one’s own home.
“Connecticut stands with states across the country that have implemented similar gun violence prevention measures, and I am glad the Court has declined to disturb the thoughtful judicial reasoning that has validated our efforts to prevent future tragedies like the ones in Newtown and Orlando,”said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court isn’t a surprise, but it’s still very important. It reaffirms what we know is true—that commonsense limitations on weapons of war do not infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners,” said Sen. Chris Murphy. Murphy filibustered starting Wednesday to push the U.S. Senate to take up stalled gun legislation.
“The Supreme Court’s action today in declining to hear this appeal affirms that the reforms enacted in Connecticut following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School were reasonable, sensible and lawful,” said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen in a statement.
Although the decision comes days after the Orlando shooting, that event probably didn’t move the justices either way. In recent years the Court has declined to take up a major Second Amendment case. In 2008, 5-4 Supreme Court held in District of Columbia v Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms, and except for a follow up decision two years later, the court has not weighed in again.
Since then, a raging debate has developed between gun rights supporters who say that lower courts are not heeding supreme court precedent and gun control activists who say they are pushing for what they consider reasonable restrictions.