Monday marks five years since the massacre at Virginia Tech, where a mentally ill student used two legally-bought handguns to kill 32 people and wound 25 others. Other than a minor law to improve the national database used for background checks, no significant gun-control legislation followed, writes UCLA law Prof. Adam Winkler in the Washington Post. Since then, there have been several mass shootings. Gun control may be dead politically but it remains alive and well in the courts.
Second Amendment experts predict that the next major gun case at the Supreme Court will be a challenge to one of the remaining state or local laws that effectively bar the carrying of concealed weapons. Given that most states allow almost anyone to carry guns on the streets, what the justices have to say about concealed carry will be less significant than what they say about the role of the courts in scrutinizing gun laws. Will the justices respect the long-standing tradition of gun control? Or will they create novel, untested hurdles for such laws? Winkler says that in a hostile political environment, the courts have been gun-control advocates' best friend. Whether that 200-year friendship can last much longer will be the question that next confronts the Supreme Court.