High Court Punts on 2nd Amendment Cases Challenging Lifetime Ban on Owning Guns (Dreamstime)
Monday, 19 April 2021 03:24 PM
The Supreme Court on Monday opted not to take up three challenges to a federal ban on gun ownership for people who've been convicted of nonviolent crimes.
The decision reinforced the apparent inclination by the court to skirt Second Amendment questions. But it also surprised and dismayed some gun advocates who'd hoped the court would whittle away at the lifetime limitation.
As reported by USA Today, the court's sidestepping the issue let stand a series of lower court rulings that prohibited people convicted of an array of nonviolent offenses — driving under the influence, making false statements on tax returns, selling counterfeit cassette tapes — from owning a firearm.
The decisions Monday were handed down without explanation.
The news outlet said the last time the nation's highest court issued major gun rights rulings dates back to 2008 and 2010. The court struck down handgun restrictions in the District of Columbia and Chicago.
USA Today says four justices are needed to take up a case, but five are needed for any majority opinion. There have been, of late, only minority dissenting opinions indicating eagerness to address Second Amendment issues.
The court was considering the latest gun cases amid a spate of recent mass shootings n places including Georgia, Colorado and Indiana.
The three gun ownership cases involved varied circumstances: In one, a Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to a DUI in 2005 challenged the ban on purchasing or owning a gun. In another, a Pennsylvania woman who pleaded guilty to making a false statement on her tax returns sued over the ban. In a third, involving a man who pleaded guilty in a cassette counterfeiting matter back in the 1980s, there was yet another challenge to the firearms ban.
As USA Today noted, the court's punting on the cases this time around doesn't prevent it from taking up similar ones in the future.