Guns

Supreme Court Weighs Review of San Francisco Gun Control Scheme

Trigger lock requirement runs counter to District of Columbia v. Heller.

|

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court not only struck down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban, it also struck down D.C.'s requirement that all firearms kept at home be "unloaded and dissembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device." According to the majority opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia, the individual right secured by the Second Amendment voids such requirements because it protects the right of the people to keep a "lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."

Yet despite the Supreme Court's unequivocal judgment invalidating trigger lock-type regulations for guns lawfully kept at home, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit voted last year to uphold a San Francisco gun control law which requires that any handgun kept at home be "stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock." The existence of such requirements, the 9th Circuit asserted in Jackson v. San Francisco, "does not substantially burden the right or ability to use firearms for self-defense in the home."

To put it mildly, that judgment is wholly inconsistent with what the Supreme Court said in Heller.

Will the Supreme Court allow the 9th Circuit to openly flout one of its precedents? We may soon find out. Today the justices are meeting in private conference. Among the items scheduled for consideration is a petition filed by conservative lawyer Paul Clement seeking review of the 9th Circuit's Jackson opinion. "The decision below is impossible to reconcile with this Court's decision in Heller," that petition observes. "The Court of Appeals' conclusion that San Francisco may venture where this Court forbade the District of Columbia to go is so patently wrong that summary reversal would be appropriate."

Summary reversal means the Supreme Court would immediately overturn the 9th Circuit without bothering to consider any additional briefing or hear any oral arguments in the case.

It's a drastic step, but it's hardly unprecedented. In June 2012, for example, the Supreme Court summarily reversed a decision of the Montana Supreme Court which had upheld that state's ban on corporate political spending in open defiance of the 2010 Citizens United decision. "The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law. There can be no serious doubt that it does," the Court observed.

The same thing is true here. There is simply no serious doubt that the holding of Heller applies to San Francisco's gun control scheme.

NEXT: Sheldon Richman on the Assassination of Osama Bin Laden

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Summary reversal means the Supreme Court would immediately overturn the 9th Circuit without bothering to consider any additional briefing or hear any oral arguments in the case.

    I can’t remember. The makeup of the Heller court was different, wasn’t it? Is it a simple majority to vote for summary reversal?

    1. Everyone from the Heller Majority is still there I think. The recent justices were Sotomayer and Kagan, and they didn’t change the ideological composition of the court based on who they’d replaced.

  2. The existence of such requirements, the 9th Circuit asserted in Jackson v. San Francisco, “does not substantially burden the right or ability to use firearms for self-defense in the home.”

    “Hold on Mr Burglar while I find the key for this case. OK, got it. Now let me reassemble the thing, this might take a few minutes. Hey, wait! What are you doing!”

    1. Wasn’t Tulpa advocating this?

      1. In addition to mandatory annual home invasions by likewise armed baboons in uniforms to ensure compliance.

    2. I wonder how many of those jerkoffs have ever even touched a firearm? If they have it was probably just to shoot skeet at the country club with their rich friends.

      If I need advice on self-defense or defense of my home, I’ll ask somebody who knows what the fuck he’s talking about.

  3. Summary reversal means the Supreme Court would immediately overturn the 9th Circuit without bothering to consider any additional briefing or hear any oral arguments in the case.

    I can’t remember. Doesn’t this also entail summary execution of the 9th Circuit judges?

    1. It’s a reversal, so I imagine it looks something like this.

      1. No, a reversal means the plaintiffs get 2 points and a chance for back points/riding time.( although I’m a bit unclear as to whether the SC uses folk style or free style rules)

    2. Would that politics was so entertaining. Proposals along such lines have been made, such as Mencken’s thought that sacrificing failed Presidential candidates would save us from their hanging around like the odor of dead fish. For some reason the Ruling Class has never wanted to impliment any of them……

    3. Baby steps, Baby steps.

  4. the 9th Circuit asserted in Jackson v. San Francisco, “does not substantially burden the right or ability to use firearms for self-defense in the home.”

    Just like condoms don’t deprive you of the true pleasures of sex, the sex-less would say. Isn’t it outrageous how people who despise guns can make those assertions as if they tried those things themselves?

    1. What a terrible analogy, and one that makes me wonder when’s the last time you had sex other than with a spouse (or even at all).

      Most people that have regular sex with partners that at least change up some would say that while of course ‘bareback’ sex is more pleasurable sex with protection is not so much worse that the health protections don’t make it worth it. Your analogy undercuts your position.

      1. I believe his point went right over your head. His point was not that the tradeoffs are never worth it. His point was was that in neither case should some government nanny decide for you which is right, especially not based upon a lack of understanding of the tradeoffs or your particular situation.

        1. Of course that’s his point, but maybe a better analogy than one most people find completely reasonable even if they’re well experienced sexually would be better rhetorically?

        2. HAHAHAHAHA!

          Like Bo has ever had sex with another human being. Next he’ll be telling us what it’s like to have friends.

  5. So is this judicial restraint for upholding thr Sa Francisco law or judicial activism for ignoring Heller and the 2nd amendment?

    1. Judicial restraint = I like the result of this ruling
      Judicial activisim = I dislike the result of this ruling

      Those terms are otherwise devoid of meaning.

  6. I just can’t help but wonder if I am the only being in the universe who notices that when SCOTUS strikes down some small regulation related to anything near and dear to the left somewhere out in flyover country it immediately rescinds enforcement of any similar and/or related law across the land…

    But when SCOTUS rules on something about firearms as fundamental as Heller (and then McDonald) it is being fought out in the lower courts, district by district, state by state, municipality by municipality many years later.

    I wonder when (if?) the tide will ever turn and the civil right to self defense will be considered as sacred as voting, access to employment or education, etc.?

    1. For the left? No, the tide will never turn.

      In reality, however, the right to self-defense is more fundamental than civil rights, such as voting and access to education. Protection of life, liberty, and property are core human rights.

      1. Even if the 2nd were not read in the most straightforward manner a right to armed self defense should be recognized under substantive due process, such a right is a fundamental one as rooted in our nations history and traditions as can be.

        1. “Substantive due process” is (1) an oxymoronic term and (2) a squishy, made up concept with no textual basis in the Constitution that arose as a result of repeated misinterpretations of the Privileges & Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment.

          1. I agree, but it’s what we have now for securing unenumerated rights.

    2. A lot of the fault lies with the Heller decision itself. It gave little clear guidance to lower courts. It basically said “ok, there is an individual right to keep and bear which certainly applies to the home, but we’re not going to say if it applies anywhere else or what level of scrutiny any restriction should be evaluated with, and oh, yeah, widely accepted gun control measures are probably OK.” That leaves a lot to be worked out.

      1. While this is true, it gave clear guidance on the specific issue in the 9th circuit case, so that excuse dont fly.

        1. Not really. The DC law can be distinguished in that it required the gun to be an inoperable (trigger lock or unassembled) long gun, this deals with a locked (trigger or safe) handgun.

          1. Im wrong here. The correct possible distinction is that the DC law required handguns to be unloaded and disassembled or trigger locked at all times excepting when used for lawful recreational purposes, this law requires all handguns to be kept when not in immediate possession locked up or trigger locked. So the differences (when not in possession v all times, loaded or not) could distinguish. I’ve seen worse distinctions make law.

    3. That must be why all the abortion litigation stopped after Roe v. Wade…oh wait.

    4. The law-schools, over the last several generations, have graduated a lot of stupid when it comes to the 2nd-Amendment.
      You must realize that Heller was the first bite at the apple since Miller in 1939(?) and that didn’t even deal with the “fundamental right” question – and was decided wrongly anyway.

  7. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……
    http://www.work-cash.com

    1. Sounds tempting. What are the benefits like? Health insurance? Paid maternity leave? Vacation? What sort of growth potential can you offer?

  8. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……
    http://www.work-cash.com

  9. What about making it plain to children and other members of the household you’ll cut their fingers off with a pair of dull tin snips if they touch your guns?

    1. I feel like one of the consequences of anti-gun hysteria is that, now, most children (and liberal adults) don’t know even the most basic gun safety practices.

  10. such as Mencken’s thought that sacrificing failed Presidential candidates would save us from their hanging around like the odor of dead fish.

    I have been saying for years the inauguration festivities should prominently feature the loser being put to the sword.

    Maybe I subconsciously poached it from Mencken. I read him voraciously in college.

  11. most children (and liberal adults) don’t know even the most basic gun safety practices.

    Anti open carry people state quite explicitly their intent to prevent the demystification and acceptance of guns which might result from guns being routinely and non-threateningly seen by the weak and infirm.

  12. Google is paying 98$ per hour! Just work For Few hours & Spend more time with friends and family. On Sunday i Bought Themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $18543 this month.
    Useful Site ?????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  13. My dear, the next five minutes can change your life!
    Give a chance to your good luck.
    Read this article, please!
    Move to a better life!
    We make profit on the Internet since 1998! ?????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.