You may know about the Supreme Court’s summertime D.C. v. Heller decision, which held that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the Federal government from making laws which substantially infringe on the rights of individuals to “keep and bear arms,” i.e. to carry or own weapons. The Wait a Second! blog reported that on Wednesday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals (the Federal appeals court with jurisdiction over New York) issued its opinion in the case of Maloney v. Cuomo. It held that New York’s law against possessing “nunchucks” does not violate the 2nd Amendment, or the Heller decision’s interpretation of that amendment by the Supreme Court. In other words, it holds that a State may make laws that do infringe on the individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
It is true that the 2nd amendment only prohibits the Federal government from taking away an individual’s right to bear arms. But the 14th Amendment is said to incorporate the vast majority of the rights in the “Bill of Rights,” the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, against the individual States as well. However, this new Maloney case holds that it is settled law that the 2nd Amendment’s prohibition against Federal laws prohibiting weapon ownership do not apply to the States.
It will be interesting to see if other Circuits face similar cases and how they come out. The Supreme Court will hopefully take on of these cases on appeal and clarify what they neglected to clarify in the Heller case. Is the individual right to bear arms incorporated via the 14th Amendment as a right against State infringement? Or just Federal law infringement?
Either way, if you get busted for illegal possession of a gun, call a good criminal lawyer!
Picture courtesy of karatedepot.com