High Court Lets S.F. Gun Law Stand, Raising 2nd Amendment Questions


The Supreme Court raised “significant new questions about how much protection the Constitution's Second Amendment actually gives to gun owners” by not reviewing a San Francisco law that restricts access to guns even within one's own home, reports Scotusblog. Yesterday’s denial of review prompted a “fervent dissent” from Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, who argued that the court is narrowing the amendment's “right to keep and bear arms.” The refusal to review the case was the latest in a string of orders declining to clarify the personal right to have a gun, first established seven years ago and extended nationwide five years ago.

In the 2008 case of D.C. v. Heller, the court ruled that the right created by the Second Amendment included a right to have a gun for one's own use in self-defense, at least within the home. The court applied the right across the U.S. in the 2010 case of McDonald v. Chicago. That was the last time the court spoke on the amendment' s reach. Much of the uncertainty that has spread to courts across the U.S. involves the core question whether the personal right extends anywhere beyond the home. The San Francisco case sought to bring the court back inside the home, to determine how far government could go to regulate access to a weapon there. Under the law at issue, a handgun in the home could be carried on the body of the person, but otherwise had to be stored in a locked container or else disabled with a trigger lock.

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