Newsletter: Fallout From the SCOTUS Second Amendment Ruling

The Supreme Court released its first Second Amendment decision in two years late last week. This week, we saw some of the fallout from that.

While complaining that the Court’s ruling in US v. Rahimi was too narrow, the DOJ asked SCOTUS to take up a slew of other Second Amendment cases. The DOJ isn’t the only one annoyed at the Rahimi outcome; the author of the Court’s Second Amendment test is also annoyed. He thinks the Court’s attempt to rebuff a lower court’s too-strict application of that test ended up undermining it.

Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman takes a close look at Clarence Thomas’s lone dissent. Then, I ponder whether SCOTUS will tee up an anti-Rahimi case that seeks to reign in lower courts playing too loose with its Second Amendment test.

The NRA was back in the news this week. This time with some good news. It managed to turn the political fundraising tide back in its favor.

Smith & Wesson saw good news, too. Its sales were up last quarter despite the industry’s downward trend.

Plus, Second Amendment scholar David Kopel joins the podcast to examine the implications of the Rahimi ruling.

Of course, the first presidential debate also happened last night. It sure was… something. It’s pretty remarkable those are the best options we could muster as a country. But, regardless, neither candidate brought up gun policy. I’ll get into that more in Sunday’s member newsletter and on the podcast.

A Moms Demand Action supporter holds a sign outside the Supreme Court
A Moms Demand Action supporter holds a sign outside the Supreme Court / Stephen Gutowski

SCOTUS Upholds Domestic Violence Restraining Order Gun Ban in 8-1 Vote
By Stephen Gutowski

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled today that people determined by a court to be dangerous can be disarmed–at least temporarily.

The majority determined the federal law that bars those subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns is not unconstitutional on its face. It also found the law was constitutional as applied to defendant Zachary Rahimi, who was specifically found by a judge to be a threat to the mother of his child.

Click here to read more.

The Supreme Court of the United States on November 7th, 2023
The Supreme Court of the United States on November 7th, 2023 / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: What Justice Thomas’s Rahimi Dissent Says About the Bruen Test [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

Is the Supreme Court already retreating from its recently adopted Second Amendment legal test? The chief architect of that test seems to think so.

A nearly unanimous Court upheld the federal gun ban for persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders last week in U.S. v. Rahimi. The majority did so after finding that the law fit within the nation’s history and tradition of firearms regulation, the key bar modern regulations must clear to pass constitutional muster under the Bruen standard of review.

“Since the founding, our Nation’s firearm laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote on behalf of the eight-member majority. “As applied to the facts of this case, Section 922(g)(8) fits comfortably within this tradition.”

Notably, Justice Clarence Thomas broke with his five fellow conservatives as well as the Court’s liberals to register his disagreement. Thomas argued that the Court’s majority failed to adhere to the same Bruen standard many signed on to just two years prior.

“After New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, this Court’s directive was clear: A firearm regulation that falls within the Second Amendment’s plain text is unconstitutional unless it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” Thomas wrote. “Not a single historical regulation justifies the statute at issue.”

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The Authority of Law statue sits in front of the Supreme Court
The Authority of Law statue sits in front of the Supreme Court / Stephen Gutowski

DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Resolve Question of Gun Rights for Felons
By Jake Fogleman 

Fresh off its victory in Rahimi, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking the Supreme Court to clarify who it can disarm under the Second Amendment.

US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar filed a supplemental brief with the High Court on Monday to request that the Justices make the federal felony gun ban their next Second Amendment priority. Specifically, the brief asked for review in five separate appellate court cases dealing with the federal gun ban for felonies of varying severity. She argued such a move was necessary because the Court failed to address the issue in its latest Second Amendment decision.

Click here to continue reading.

NRA hats on sale at the group's 2024 conference
NRA hats on sale at the group’s 2024 conference / Stephen Gutowski

NRA Outraises Gun-Control Groups
By Stephen Gutowski

The National Rifle Association’s political arm rebounded in May, surpassing its rivals on the other side of the gun issue.

The NRA’s Political Victory Fund (PVF) raised just under $650,000 last month, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records released this week. It also increased its haul by more than $200,000 from April. The political arms of leading gun-control groups Everytown, Giffords, and Brady raised just over $570,000 combined.

For the first time this year, this puts the gun-rights group ahead of its opponents in the 2024 fundraising race.

Click here to read more.

The Smith & Wesson booth at the 2024 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada
The Smith & Wesson booth at the 2024 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada / Stephen Gutowski

Smith & Wesson Bucks Industry Downturn
By Stephen Gutowski

America’s largest gun maker saw sales rise last quarter despite evidence of an ongoing firearms industry slump.

Smith & Wesson reported late last week that it did $159.1 million in net sales between February and April. That was a $14.4 million, or 9.9 percent, increase over the same quarter last year. The company’s gross margins also increased from 29 percent to 35.5 percent.

The American gun maker was able to do that despite evidence the overall firearms market was down during the period. Industry analysis of FBI background checks, which serve as a key indicator of gun sales, found sales are down significantly from the record 2020 levels and even from last year.

Click here for more.

Podcast: 2A Scholar David Kopel Reacts to Major Supreme Court Ruling
By Stephen Gutowski

The Supreme Court handed down its first Second Amendment ruling in two years on Friday. It’s also the first case where The Court applied the test it developed in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. Those facts alone mean US v. Rahimi will hold a great deal of influence on gun cases across the nation.

So, we’ve got one of the top pro-gun scholars in the country on the show to break down what The Court did and didn’t hold. Independence Institute’s David Kopel has been at the forefront of the Second Amendment fight for decades, with citations in federal court decisions coast to coast and at the Supreme Court itself. He also filed a brief in Rahimi that appears to have significantly influenced the majority’s thinking.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcast or by clicking here. Video of the episode is available on our YouTube channel.

Plus, I detail the latest Supreme Court Second Amendment ruling on this week’s episode of the News Update. Then I talk about President Biden’s new gun control ad and the risk vs. reward of his strategy in centering his call for new firearms restrictions as the election nears. I also go over an on-the-ground report from The Counteroffensive out of Ukraine about a new effort to bring the war-torn country its own version of the Second Amendment.

Auido is here. Video is here.

The doors to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
The doors to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Will SCOTUS Take an Anti-Rahimi Case? [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

In US v. Rahimi, the Supreme Court rebuked a lower court for applying its Second Amendment test too strictly. Will it do the same for those applying it too loosely?

On Friday, The Court handed down an 8-1 ruling upholding Zachary Rahimi’s conviction for violating the federal ban on gun possession for those subject to a domestic violence restraining order. It said the underlying federal law fit within the history and tradition of firearms regulation, as required by the Bruen test, because early American surety and affray laws were close enough in basis and execution for the modern law to pass muster. The majority ruled it was within the tradition of “preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms.”

The ruling will likely have little direct practical effect. It maintains the status quo for those, like Rahimi, who’ve been subject to a domestic violence restraining order after a court specifically found they are dangerous. The government can still disarm them–at least temporarily.

The more substantial outcome of the ruling is found in how it got to the conclusion the modern ban was constitutional and the message it sent to the lower courts.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this piece and hundreds of others!

Outside The Reload

How the ATF Slashed Suppressor Approval Time by 5000% | MeatEater | By Jordan Sillars

Court rejects gun maker Smith & Wesson’s challenge to New Jersey’s subpoena | Reuters | By Nate Raymond

Active shooting incidents in the US declined by 4% from 2022 to 2023: FBI | ABC News | By Luke Barr

US surgeon general declares gun violence a public health emergency | AP News | By Amanda Seitz

Gun purchases soar among Latinos in the United States | El Pais | By Wendy Selene Perez

Gunmaker SIG Sauer Found Liable in Shooting Accident | The Trace | By Champe Barton

Both sides of gun issue seek to stir up US voters as NRA influence wanes | The Guardian | By Peter Stone

NRA: Time to ‘Seriously Examine’ Felon in Possession Laws | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

House Dem introduces bill to curb federal contracts with ‘bad-apple gun dealers’ | The Hill | By Miranda Nazzaro

Charged with possessing his own gun, Purple Heart recipient suing NYPD for discrimination | New York Daily News | By Rocco Parascandola

That’s it for this week in guns.

If you want to hear expert analysis of these stories and more, make sure you grab a Reload membership to get our exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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