Supreme Court Ruling Opens Door On Major Gun Issue

( The Second Amendment could soon be at the heart of another upcoming legal fight that could make its way all the way to the Supreme Court.

The foundation for this next battle over gun rights revolves around state laws that prohibit individuals from carrying a firearm in what are determined to be “sensitive” locations.

The Supreme Court ruled recently on a Second Amendment issue that dealt with Americans’ rights to have a gun not just in their home but in public. Now, the fight is evolving to tackle exactly where people can and can’t bring a gun.

Challenges to these restrictions on carrying a gun in a “sensitive” place have been filed already in the District of Columbia and New York. Some legal experts believe that additional similar cases are likely to be filed from other gun support groups in an effort to bring the issue all the way to the high court.

The crux of their argument is that these restrictions infringe on the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. Currently, many locations have bans on carrying firearms in public parks, houses of worship and on the campuses of colleges.

Duke Law School professor Joseph Blocher, who is considered a Second Amendment expert, recently commented to CBS News:

“That’s going to be an important and interesting battlefield going forward for Second Amendment cases. Until now, it’s been a sleepy corner of Second Amendment law and scholarship, and that means there’s going to be a lot of open questions to figure out, and the central one is, what makes a place sensitive such that the government can prohibit guns in that place?”

The Supreme Court has ruled on a few important aspects of the Second Amendment this century. The first came in 2008, when the high court ruled that people had a right under the Constitution to keep handguns in their home for the purpose of self-defense.

This past June, the Supreme Court struck down a permitting regime in New York that place limits on who was allowed to carry a concealed firearm while in public. This essentially extended to people a right to carry a concealed weapon while they were outside their home for the purposes of self-defense.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion in the June cases. In it, he cited the “few” sensitive places outlined in the 18th and 19th centuries were historical records were present where guns could be prohibited. This included polling places, courthouses and legislative assemblies.

He also added:

“We therefore can assume it settled that these locations were ‘sensitive places’ where arms carrying could be prohibited consistent with the Second Amendment.”

Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a concurring opinion in that case. In it, Kavanaugh wrote that the Second Amendment does allow for some limitations on gun rights, which includes the carrying of firearms in “sensitive” places such as government buildings and schools.

But, what Blocher said is the central question is “the principle that connects those things” that the justices wrote about. In other words, it’s not clear why those places are termed “sensitive” and therefore people are prohibited from carrying firearms in them.