Gun Control Advocates Are Worried About the Supreme Court’s Upcoming Firearms Cases

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Jun 22, 2024

The Supreme Court’s pending cases revolving around firearms and one’s right under the Second Amendment have many gun control advocates worried, even after the court ruled to uphold a law barring domestic abusers from legally possessing a firearm.

These activist concerns come as the court has tipped to a conservative majority in only the last few years.

A Recent Supreme Court Firearms Ruling

Just this week, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold a law that completely bars domestic abusers from being able to own a gun. This move was applauded by gun control advocates around the country.

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Esther Sanchez-Gomez, the litigation director at the Giffords Law Center, explained that this ruling showed that “common sense still needs to rule the day.”

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Upcoming Gun Restriction Cases

However, even though the court ruled in favor of what these advocates wanted, this doesn’t mean that the Supreme Court will continue to follow this path.

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As the court decides on several upcoming cases, the conservative majority could choose to continue to strike down gun restrictions — something they’ve done since 2022.

A New Conservative Majority

The court’s recent conservative majority has already made a few gun rights cases that have impacted much of how the country deals with firearm restrictions — and which have made Second Amendment supporters thrilled.

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Now, the court seems intent on continuing to take on these difficult cases. This could result in even more restrictions being stricken down, which has some gun control activists worried.

Looking at a Historical Understanding

In 2022, the Supreme Court ruled on New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. This case dealt with gun restrictions.

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In a move that was applauded by Second Amendment advocates, the court ruled that any firearm restrictions had to follow a historical understanding of what it means to have a right to bear arms. This eventually led to many new legal cases challenging gun restrictions.

United States v. Rahimi

The court’s 2022 decision eventually led to their most recent firearms restriction case, United States v. Rahimi. This case dealt with whether those accused of domestic violence could legally have their right to possess a gun taken away.

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The court agreed to uphold this gun restriction law, even appearing to take a less hardline approach to their decision here than they did when ruling in 2022 on Bruen.

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Upcoming Worries

For gun control advocates, several cases the court could consider hearing soon have them slightly worried.

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One of these cases deals with a challenge to the federal law that completely bars nonviolent felons from owning and possessing weapons such as guns.

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Nonviolent Felons Owning Guns

In 1995, Bryan Range was found guilty of making a false statement in order to receive food stamps. After conviction, he became a felon — and wasn’t able to own a gun.

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This resulted in Range suing the government, as he believes his Second Amendment rights have been violated, especially because he is considered a nonviolent felon. The Supreme Court could soon decide to hear this case.

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Other Upcoming Cases

The Supreme Court could also decide to rule on another case that challenges the law that bans illegal drug users from being able to own and possess a firearm.

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This case stems from a situation involving Patrick Daniels, a man who was stopped by police back in April 2022 in Mississippi. Daniels had marijuana, as well as a loaded rifle and pistol in his car. This case is fighting for people like Daniels to have the right to own guns.

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The Supreme Court Could Help Hunter Biden

Perhaps surprisingly, how the Supreme Court rules on these two cases could affect Hunter Biden, who has recently been found guilty under the same criminal statute that Daniels was.

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If the court takes on Daniels’ case and rules that he, as a drug user, can own a gun, then Hunter Biden could end up easily appealing his case — and winning, thanks to the Supreme Court.

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The Court’s Next Moves

The Supreme Court has a few different moves it could make in light of its most recent Rahimi ruling. They could choose to take on the cases, as the lower courts have ruled in favor of gun owners versus the Biden administration.

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However, the court could also choose to send these cases back down to the lower courts for more analysis, especially after their Rahimi decision.

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An Uncertain Future

Many gun rights advocates are positive that the conservative court will continue to strike down firearms restrictions in these upcoming cases.

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Meanwhile, some gun control activists remain concerned about what the court could do. Others feel hopeful that, thanks to this most recent ruling, the court may not rule on such hardline approaches as they have in 2022.

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