The Supreme Court of the United States delivered a blow to gun rights activists on Monday when they turned down the possibility of hearing roughly a dozen Second Amendment-related cases. The last time the Court heard a gun-related case was in 2010 with the landmark McDonald v. Chicago decision.
Below are the cases that were rejected (via Bearing Arms):
Pena v. Horan is a challenge to California’s microstamping law, which took effect in 2012 and has curtailed not only the availability of new models of handguns, but has caused existing models of handguns to be barred from being sold in the state.
Gould v. Lipson is a challenge to Massachusetts’ carry laws.
Worman v. Healey is a challenge to the state’s ban on so-called assault weapons.
Malpasso v. Pallozzi takes on similar requirements in the state of Maryland.
Culp v. Raoul challenges an Illinois law barring residents from 45 other states from applying for a non-resident concealed carry license, while Wilson v. Cook County takes on the Illinois county’s ban on modern sporting rifles.
Mance v. Barr is a case challenging the ban on interstate sales of handguns.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion, which Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined, calling into question the Court's failure to hear firearm-related cases that need clarity.
"The text of the Second Amendment protects 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.' We have stated that this 'fundamental righ[t]' is 'necessary to our system of ordered liberty.' Yet, in several jurisdictions throughout the country, law-abiding citizens have been barred from exercising the fundamental right to bear arms because they cannot show that they have a 'justifiable need' or 'good reason' for doing so," Thomas wrote.
"One would think that such an onerous burden on a fundamental right would warrant this Court’s review. This Court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights," he wrote. "And it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion. But today, faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the Court simply looks the other way."
Thomas also cited the lower court's split decision on Americans having to prove they are in need of a concealed carry permit. Having lower courts split on a decision is a prime reason the Supreme Court takes on a case.
"This case gives us the opportunity to provide guidance on the proper approach for evaluating Second Amendment claims; acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry in public; and resolve a square Circuit split on the constitutionality of justifiable need restrictions on that right," Thomas said. "I would grant the petition for a writ of certiorari."
Thomas also made the argument that the Heller decision – which states a person has a right to carry a firearm outside of the home for self-protection – provided a framework for lower courts to decide cases.
The justice made it clear he believes these cases are being put off for political reasons, particularly for those on the Court who oppose the right to keep and bear arms.
"Whatever one may think about the proper approach to analyzing Second Amendment challenges, it is clearly time for us to resolve the issue," Thomas stated.