Sacramento California, September 22, 2021: Americans Against Gun Violence filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the case of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen on Tuesday, September 21, in which the organization called on the Supreme Court to overturn its rogue 2008 Heller decision.
In the NYSRPA v. Bruen case, the gun lobby claims that New York State’s laws restricting the carrying of concealed handguns violates the Second Amendment. The gun lobby’s argument is based almost entirely upon the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision in which a narrow five to four majority of the Court ruled for the first time in U.S. history that the Second Amendment conferred any kind of individual right to own a gun unrelated to service in a well regulated militia. The Supreme Court had ruled in four previous cases that the Second Amendment, which begins with the phrase, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” did not confer an individual right to own guns for personal use.
The Heller decision has been described by respected authorities as “gun rights propaganda passing as scholarship” and as “evidence of the ability of well-staffed courts to produce snow jobs.” In his autobiography, the late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens described the Heller decision as “unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Court announced during my [35 year] tenure on the bench.” Stevens also noted that the Heller majority endorsed an interpretation of the Second Amendment that the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger had called “one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word ‘fraud’ – on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” As Americans Against Gun Violence points out in its amicus brief, though, the Heller decision is worse than even these harsh criticisms might indicate. In creating a constitutional obstacle, where none previously existed, to the adoption of stringent gun control laws in the United States comparable to the laws in the other high income countries of the world – countries in which the rate of gun related deaths is, on average, one tenth the rate in our country – Heller is literally a death sentence for tens of thousands of American annually. Americans Against Gun Violence calls on the Supreme Court to overturn the rogue 2008 Heller decision and to rule in the current case that New York State’s handgun laws do not violate the Second Amendment.
A total of 32 amicus briefs in support of New York State’s handgun laws have been filed on behalf of 84 organizations, 606 individuals (including 152 members of Congress), 13 cities, and 18 states in the NYSRPA v. Bruen case as of the September 21 filing deadline, but Americans Against Gun Violence is the only organization to file a brief that openly states that the Heller decision was wrongly decided and should be overturned. We invite other organizations and individuals to join us in calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Heller and in calling for Congress to adopt stringent gun control laws comparable to the laws in other high income democratic countries, including a complete ban on civilian ownership of all handguns and all automatic and semi-automatic long guns.