The Justice Department voiced disagreement on Thursday to a Supreme Court case that reaffirmed Second Amendment rights.
In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that required state residents to demonstrate “proper cause” when seeking a concealed carry permit. Under the law, seeking a concealed carry permit on the basis of self-protection alone was not sufficient cause for receiving one.
What did the DOJ say?
In a statement released by agency spokeswoman Dena Iverson, the DOJ stated disagreement that New York’s law violated the Second Amendment.
We respectfully disagree with the Court’s conclusion that the Second Amendment forbids New York’s reasonable requirement that individuals seeking to carry a concealed handgun must show that they need to do so for self-defense.
The Department of Justice remains committed to saving innocent lives by enforcing and defending federal firearms laws, partnering with state, local and tribal authorities and using all legally available tools to tackle the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our communities.
The statement drew various critiques.
Some people expressed gratitude that, in light of the statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland never made it to the Supreme Court, while others noted the statement is more evidence of the Justice Department’s increasing politicization.
- “Merrick Garland apparently dissents from today’s decision. Thankfully he does so from DOJ, and not the Supreme Court. But seriously, is DOJ advocating nullification or just trying to scaremonger by implying that federal gun laws are impacted by today’s decision?
This is an odd statement from an increasingly political agency—which should be anything but,” lawyer Carrie Severino
- “DOJ statement botches case. Under NY scheme, it’s not enough that applicant show need for self-defense. Applicant must show ‘special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community,'” lawyer Ed Whelan pointed out.
- “The DOJ ‘respectfully disagrees’ with a 6-3 #SCOTUS decision? If there’s a precedent for this, pointers please. Let me paraphrase: ‘You can take the Constitution and that separation of powers nonsense and jump off a cliff.’ Good thing rule of law matters to Democrats so much,” radio host Hugh Hewitt said.
- “Lifelong liberal here: the Supreme Court is right on this. People should be able to defend themselves and shouldn’t have to show good cause to an organization that has become politically opposed to self defense,” another person said.
- “God bless Mitch McConnell and keeping this f*** Merrill Garland off the Supreme Court,” another person said.
President Joe Biden similarly denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” Biden said in a statement. “I urge states to continue to enact and enforce commonsense laws to make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence.”
Biden suggested that more gun control laws are needed in light of recent mass killings in Buffalo and Uvalde.
But Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito made clear on Thursday that New York’s law would not have prevented the Buffalo mass killing, namely because the perpetrator used a rifle.
Responding to the Supreme Court Justices who dissented, Alito wrote, “In light of what we have actually held, it is hard to see what legitimate purpose can possibly be served by most of the dissent’s lengthy introductory section.”
“Why, for example, does the dissent think it is relevant to recount the mass shootings that have occurred in recent years?” Alito continued. “Does the dissent think that laws like New York’s prevent or deter such atrocities? Will a person bent on carrying out a mass shooting be stopped if he knows that it is illegal to carry a handgun outside the home?
“And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo?” Alito went on to write. “The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.”