Jose Luis Magana/AP
Less than one month after Justice Clarence Thomas described his colleague’s decision to pass on Peruta v. California as “indefensible,” the NRA is backing a request that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) review the Fourth Circuit’s decision upholding Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban.
According to the NRA-ILA, “A group of Maryland citizens … filed a petition to the United States Supreme Court on Friday seeking to reverse a Court of Appeals ruling that stripped some of America’s most popular rifles of Second Amendment protection.”
The ruling upholding the “assault weapons” ban came in Kolbe v. Hogan, and the NRA-ILA claims Kolbe “is a direct contradiction of the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller.”
Heller reaffirmed that our founding fathers intended the Second Amendment to hedge in an individual right to keep and bear arms; a right not dependent on military or militia service, or any other collective measure that might be applied to limit or curtail its exercise.
Despite Heller, NRA executive director Chris Cox said:
Lower courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment for too long, and the Kolbe decision crossed yet another line. The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The popular rifles and standard magazines banned in Maryland are some of the best tools for self-defense. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will reverse this egregious decision.
On June 26 SCOTUS declined to hear Peruta v. California, a case focused on the scope of Second Amendment protections as they relate to carrying a concealed handgun on one’s person for self-defense. Breitbart News reported that Justice Thomas called the decision “indefensible,” and he expressed concern that the Second Amendment was being treated “as a disfavored right.” He observed, “The Constitution does not rank certain rights above others, and I do not think this Court should impose such a hierarchy by selectively enforcing its preferred rights.”
Cornell published the full text of Thomas’s dissent, in which he also wrote:
For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it.
Justice Neil Gorsuch joined Thomas in dissent.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.