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Public Defender vs. Gun Control – Reason.com


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this season New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruin, Which challenges the constitutionality of a state law for which anyone seeking a license to carry a firearm hidden from the public must first convince a local official that he has a “reasonable reason” to do so.

Like other big cases involving hot-buttons, it has attracted many Friend of the Senate (“Court friend”) Brief. Many of these summaries will have zero effect on the ruling. But filing in July could have an impact.

The summary comes from a coalition of public defense lawyers, including the Black Attorney of Legal Aid, the Bronx Defenders and Brooklyn Defender Services. They called on the Supreme Court to repeal New York’s gun licensing scheme because it violated the Second Amendment and differently harmed blacks and Hispanics who carry firearms for self-defense purposes.

“Every year,” the parties told the court, “we represent hundreds of needy people against whom New York criminally charges for enforcing the right to possess and carry weapons. For our clients, the New York license requirement turns the Second Amendment into a legal fiction. All clients whose lawsuits New York sued for their Second Amendment rights are black and Hispanic. “And it was” no accident, “he argued. “New York has enacted its firearms licensing requirements to criminalize gun ownership by ethnic and racial minorities. The impact of its application by police and prosecutors remains today.”

According to the Public Defender Group, the New York scheme has predicted “cruel” consequences for their clients. They have been “stopped, interrogated, and forcibly removed from their homes”, “imprisoned in filthy and violent prisons and jails” and “deprived of their jobs, children, livelihood and ability to live. “This country,” all “because our clients have exercised constitutional rights.”

It is possible that such an argument would resonate with Justice Sonia Stomayor, the court’s chief critic and critic of additional law enforcement abuse. As the public defenders have made clear in their briefing, the Supreme Court’s decision against New York’s gun control project will not only win the Second Amendment, it will also win criminal justice reform.



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