Speculating that ‘pendulum’s swing toward unfettered gun access may finally have reached its pivot point,’ City Attorney has high hopes for viability of gun safety laws
SAN FRANCISCO (June 8, 2015)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera expressed gratitude and optimism today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny review to an appeal by the National Rifle Association and local gun rights advocates, who sought to invalidate a San Francisco ordinance requiring gun owners to lock or disable their weapons when they are stored at home.
Among 144 petitions for writs of certiorari summarily denied in this morning’s high court order list, San Francisco’s case was alone in drawing a written dissent from the majority’s decision to deny review. Justice Clarence Thomas was joined by Justice Antonin Scalia in what one high court analyst described as “a fervent dissent” to argue that the appellate court decision upholding the constitutionality of San Francisco’s law “is in serious tension” with two relatively recent U.S. Supreme Court holdings on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. Those rulings, in Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010), identified for the first time in more than two centuries of American jurisprudence “an individual’s right to keep and bear arms” within the Second Amendment. Lyle Denniston, the influential independent legal analyst for ScotusBlog, speculated that today’s denial raised “significant new questions about how much protection the Constitution’s Second Amendment actually gives to gun owners.”
Because efforts by several major American cities to address their problems with gun violence were widely considered hamstrung by the Heller and McDonald rulings, today’s denial of cert-and even the dissent by two justices-gives Herrera hope that the court’s majority sees common-sense limits on individuals’ gun rights to protect lives and public safety.
“The U.S. Supreme Court denies thousands of petitions for review, usually without comment, and I know better than to read too much into any of them,” Herrera said. “But today’s denial and dissent give me hope that the pendulum’s swing toward unfettered gun access may finally have reached its pivot point, and that cities like mine may be freer to enact common sense gun safety laws than we’ve believed over the last several years. I’m gratified that San Francisco’s common sense gun safety law stands, and I’m very proud of my office’s work to defend it. I’m also intrigued to see where this court goes from here to balance gun rights and public safety.”
The case is: Espanola Jackson, et al. v. City and County of San Francisco, et al., U.S. Supreme Court No. 14-704, On Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, decided June 8, 2015.
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