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SCOTUS Gun Watch - End of Term Summary 6/30/23

  • Date:
  • June 30th, 2023

By: Andrew Willinger

One year and one week after Bruen was decided, the Supreme Court granted certiorari today in its first post-Bruen Second Amendment case: United States v. Rahimi.  The grant came on the final day of the 2022-2023 Term, a day on which the Court also released major decisions in legal challenges to the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness plan and state LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws.  The Court originally considered Rahimi at its June 22 conference, but the case was then re-distributed for the Term's final "clean-up" conference yesterday.   

In Rahimi, the Court will consider whether 922(g)(8)'s bar on those subject to certain domestic violence restraining orders possessing firearms is constitutional under Bruen's history and tradition-focused test for Second Amendment challenges.  A unanimous Fifth Circuit panel struck down the law, holding that:

Bruen forecloses any . . . analysis [of salutary policy goals] in favor of a historical analogical inquiry into the scope of the allowable burden on the Second Amendment right. Through that lens, we conclude that § 922(g)(8)’s ban on possession of firearms is an "outlier[] that our ancestors would never have accepted."

While lower-court confusion about how to apply Bruen might suggest that the Court will use Rahimi as an opportunity to clarify outstanding questions about the historical-analogical approach, it's not clear that the Justices themselves agree on the answers to those questions.  For that reason, I think we may see a fairly narrow decision in Rahimi—or, at least, a decision that does not purport to clarify or settle major outstanding questions such as the required number of analogues or correct level of generality for other major areas of post-Bruen litigation such as challenges to assault weapons bans and sensitive-places laws.  That said, it's hard to imagine the decision not having a major impact on the budding circuit split over whether 922(g)(1) is constitutional as applied to non-violent felons. 

I do expect the Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit in Rahimi, likely with Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh and Chief Justice Roberts joining Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Jackson.  Justice Barrett's 2019 dissenting opinion in Kanter v. Barr (when she was on the Seventh Circuit) is the best insight we currently have into how any justice will analyze a prohibited-persons challenge by reference to history.  That opinion seems to signal that Justice Barrett would find 922(g)(8) consistent with a broad historical tradition of disarming dangerous individuals and vote to overturn the Fifth Circuit here.   We'll have additional analysis of Rahimi on the blog in the coming weeks and months in the lead-up to oral argument this fall.

 

Petitions Pending

Case

Ct. Below

Pet. Filed

Implicated Law/Issue

Status

United States

v.

Rahimi

(22-915)

5th Cir.

17-Mar-2023

Facial constitutional challenge to § 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) under the Second Amendment.

Cert granted 30-June-2023

Garland

v. 

Cargill

(22-976)

5th Cir. 

6-Apr-2023

Whether a bump stock device constitutes a "machinegun" as defined by federal legislation, and whether ATF acted outside of its statutory authorization in banning bump stocks via regulation.

Distributed for conference 26-Sep-2023

The National Rifle Association of America 

v.

Vullo

(22-842)

2d Cir. 

7-Feb-2023

First Amendment challenge by the NRA to state government guidance and press urging banks and insurance companies to consider the reputational risks of doing business with gun-rights organizations. 

Response filed 23-June-2023

Kyung Chang Industry USA, Inc.

v. 

Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada, et al.

(22-1206)

Nevada Supreme Court

9-June-2023

Request for interlocutory relief in case involving whether a magazine is a "component part of a firearm" under PLCAA. 

Distributed for conference 26-Sep-2023

Guedes 

v.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

(22-1222)

D.C. Cir. 

14-June-2023

Whether a bump stock device constitutes a "machinegun" as defined by federal legislation, and whether ATF acted outside of its statutory authorization in banning bump stocks via regulation.

Petition filed 14-June-2023


Petitions Disposed

Case

Ct. Below

Pet. Filed

Implicated Law/Issue

Status

Seekins

v. 

United States

(22-6853)

5th Cir.

21-Feb-2023

As-applied commerce clause challenge to 922(g)(1). 

Denied 26-June-2023

Lora

v. 

United States

(22-49)

2d Cir. 

15-July-2022

Whether 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(D)(ii) requires consecutive sentences be imposed for a defendant convicted and sentenced under 924(j).

Decided 16-June 2023

Bevis

v. 

City of Naperville

(22A948 - emergency application)

7th Cir.

26-Apr-2023

Emergency application for injunction of Illinois assault weapons and LCM ban pending appeal of district court order upholding the law. 

Denied 17-May-2023

Gazzola

v.

Hochul

(22-622)

2d Cir.

4-Jan-2023

Second Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and vagueness challenge by New York firearms dealers to state regulations on the commercial sale of firearms.

Cert Denied 24-Apr-2023

Doe

v.

United States

(22-806)

1st Cir.

17-Feb-2023

Whether the Massachusetts state crime of straight assault becomes a violent felony that satisfies the ACCA's force requirement because it was committed with a dangerous weapon.

Cert Denied 27-Mar 2023

Beemer 

v.

Whitmer

(22-586)

6th Cir.

21-Dec-2022

Mootness of challenge to Michigan COVID-19 restrictions, including Second Amendment challenge to order closing gun stores

Cert Denied 27-Feb-2023

Gazzola 

v.

Hochul 

(22A591 - emergency application)

2d Cir.

29-Dec-2022

Application to reverse district court order denying preliminary injunction and enter administrative stay (NY commercial gun regulations)

Denied 18-Jan-2023

Greco 

v. 

Platkin

(22-478)

3d Cir. 

13-May-2022

Challenge to NJ extreme-risk-protection law under Fourth Amendment / Younger abstention 

Cert Denied 17-Jan-2023

Antonyuk

v.

Nigrelli

(22A557 - emergency application

2d Cir. 

21-Dec-2022

Application to lift stay of district court preliminary injunction pending appeal (NY post-Bruen gun law)

Denied 11-Jan-2023; Justice Alito issued a separate statement (joined by Justice Thomas)

Baldea

v.

City of New York License Division of the NYPD

(21-1495)

NY App. Ct.

10-May-2022

Challenge to NYC gun license denial

Cert Denied 5-Dec-2022

McCutchen, et al.; The Modern Sportsman, et al.

v.

United States

(22-25)

Fed Cir.

8-July-2022

Challenge to ATF bump stock ban under 5th Amendment takings clause

Cert Denied 14-Nov-2022

Mashour Howling

v. 

State of Maryland

Md. Ct. App.

13-Oct-2022

Challenge to Maryland jury instructions for possessing firearm after conviction for a crime of violence

Cert Denied 14-Nov-2022

Torcivia

v.

Suffolk County

(21-1522)

2d Cir.

31-May-2022

Challenge to warrantless home entry to seize firearms

Cert Denied 14-Nov-2022

Keith L. Carnes

v.

United States

(22-76)

8th Cir.

26-July-2022

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(3) and definition of "unlawful user of . . . any controlled substance"

Cert Denied 31-Oct-2022

Whitaker

v.

District of Columbia Concealed Pistol Licensing Review Board

(21-1545)

D.C. Ct. App.

7-Jun-2022

Challenge to DC gun license revocation standard

Cert Denied 3-Oct-2022

Gun Owners of America v. Garland

(21-1215)

6th Cir.

3-Mar-2022

Challenge to the bump stock ban

Cert Denied 3-Oct-2022

Morin v. Lyver

(21-1160)

1st Cir.

13-Dec-2022

Challenge to Massachusetts’ bar on handgun purchases for those with nonviolent misdemeanors

Granted, vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of Bruen 3-Oct-2022

Aposhian v. Garland

(21-159)

10th Cir.

2-Aug-2021

Challenge to agency deference re the bump stock ban

Cert Denied 3-Oct-2022

Duncan v. Bonta

(21-1194)

9th Cir.

28-Feb-2022

Challenge to California ban on magazines holding 10 rounds or more

Granted, vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of Bruen 30-June 2022

Bianchi v. Frosh

(21-902)

4th Cir.

16-Dec-2021

Challenge to Maryland’s assault weapons ban and to the methodology used for 2A questions

Granted, vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of Bruen 30-June 2022

Young v. Hawaii

(20-1639)

9th Cir.

11-May-21

Challenge to Hawaii’s restrictive open carry law

Granted, vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of Bruen 30-June 2022

Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs v. Bruck

(20-1507)

3d Cir.

26-Apr-21

Challenge to New Jersey ban on magazines holding 10 rounds or more

Granted, vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of Bruen 30-June 2022

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

(20-843)

2d Cir.

17-Dec-20

Challenge to New York’s good cause public carry regime

Decided 23-June-2022