The Washington Times reported yesterday that tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court may announce whether it will take another Second Amendment case – there are three on the table – which could result in yet another ruling that further defines the extent or limits of the right to keep and bear arms.
Two of those cases originated with the National Rifle Association and the third case comes from the Second Amendment Foundation, represented by two-time Supreme Court winner Alan Gura, in a 2011 case known as Lane v. Holder.
The NRA cases challenge restrictions on guns that, according to the Washington Times, would be “unimaginable” if applied to other civil rights such as privacy or free speech. The SAF case is a challenge to the 1968 Gun Control Act relating to firearm transfers for out-of-state residents.
Timing is everything and the timing of these cases may be perfect in the public arena for reasons the NRA and Mr. Gura probably haven’t considered.
By coincidence, the Washington Times is also reporting today that the press is getting another dose of reality via what the newspaper describes as a project by the Federal Communications Commission “that would send the nose of government researchers in newsrooms across the country – and First Amendment advocates want to know why.”
One FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai, reportedly suggested in an op-ed appearing in the Wall Street Journal that this project would allow “government entities” an opportunity to “grill reporters, editors and (broadcast) station owners about how they decide which stories to run.” He also reportedly stated, “The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”
Gun rights advocates might be quietly saying, “Welcome to the party, Mr. Pai.” This is because, by the proverbial “same token,” the government, in the opinion of most gun owners, has no place sticking its nose into finding out what kinds of firearms someone owns, or wants to own, and how those guns are stored.
The mainstream press has long had a rather dismissive attitude about the Second Amendment, treating it differently and being far less defensive of it than the First Amendment. As the saying goes, it depends upon whose ox is being gored. The Washington Times may be an exception, as it has amassed a rather impressive "special section" devoted entirely to gun rights issues.
Constitutionally-protected civil rights are equal, whether they deal with the ownership of a printing press or microphone, or a firearm. A reporter’s right to gather and report news does not stop at the doorstep of a newspaper office or broadcast studio, same as the right to bear arms cannot possibly be interpreted to stop at the door of a private residence, or so say gun rights advocates.
Today’s advances in technology allow reporters to broadcast or report live from a remote location where a crime may have occurred. Likewise, a citizen should be able to defend himself or herself with a firearm from the criminal act that occurred at that remote location, or perhaps a not-so-remote location.
On Tuesday, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Idaho lawmakers okayed legislation in Boise that will allow college students age 21 and over who have a concealed carry license to be armed on campuses of state public colleges and universities. This they did despite objections from college administrators, the state Board of Education and local police chiefs. By a 25-10 margin, Senate Bill 1254 was passed and sent over the House.
The newspaper said three Republicans joined seven Senate Democrats voting against the measure. Would any of them have voted to limit press access to campuses, or access to groups speaking out for anything from equal rights to issues such as abortion or immigration reform?
The high court probably will not make any decision on whether to accept a SAF concealed carry case out of New Jersey this column discussed.
Mr. Gura indicated via e-mail this morning that, while a SCOTUS announcement may come Friday afternoon, the justices may wait until Monday to make a decision. If the court does accept any or all of the cases, they will provide more opportunities for gun rights to expand.