Supreme Court puts gun rights back on the radar
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
One of the most striking phenomena of the Trump era has been the decline of firearm businesses despite Republican political dominance.
Why it matters: The Supreme Court now has five conservative justices, and it's taking up a gun rights case for the first time in 9 years.
- "The Supreme Court ... will take up ... a challenge to New York City’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits," AP reports.
- "The court’s decision to hear the appeal filed by three New York residents and New York’s National Rifle Association affiliate could signal a revived interest in gun rights by a more conservative court."
Between the lines: The court wading back into any gun-control issue is probably bad news for gun-control advocates. SCOTUS’ abstinence was probably the best they were ever going to get, Axios' Sam Baker emails.
- The Supreme Court has declined to review a number of cases across the country where lower courts upheld state or local laws, from expanded background checks to the ban on some semi-automatic weapons that Connecticut passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.
- And the fact that it’s taking up a new case now, with its newly solidified conservative majority, is another sign that it’s ready to pump the brakes on state-level gun control.
But the NRA is reeling, losing three big political fights since Trump's election.
- They failed to get concealed carry reciprocity through Congress.
- They similarly failed on loosening laws on silencers.
- And Trump has used executive action to ban "bump stocks," which the NRA called "disappointing" but did not explicitly oppose.
And the gun business isn't doing much better.
- "[T]he industry was facing a so-called 'Trump slump,' a plummet in sales that happens amid gun rights-friendly administrations," AP notes.
- "Background checks were at an all-time high in 2016, President Barack Obama’s last full year in office, numbering more than 27.5 million; since then, background checks have been at about 25 million each year."
P.S. Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg to CNN: "When I was interviewed by the special counsel's office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA."