I know one of the biggest concerns the gun rights community has now that Obama will be in office for four more years are Supreme Court nominees. Several of the current robe-adoren ones are getting up there in age and will likely be retiring relatively soon. The main concern gun rights activists have is Obama appointing anti-gun justices who will reverse the decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. While the Supreme Court is potentially worrisome it’s also one of the branches that the gun rights community can, for the most part, control.
The Supreme Court only rules on cases that have been appealed to their level and they are willing to hear. Because of these two requirements, and the nature of the gun control movement, the gun rights community can mostly control whether or not gun rights cases get to the Supreme Court. Needless to say so long as the gun rights community doesn’t appeal cases to the Supreme Court level the Supreme Court doesn’t get to make a decision. Unfortunately this may mean holding off on lawsuits, which have proven to be a most effective tool as of late, if anti-gun justices are seated but it also means that the threat of seeing either previous victory reversed is mostly avoidable. This means that gun rights would not move forward through the judicial system but it also means it won’t move backwards either.
I also mentioned that the nature of the gun control movement plays are part in this equation. When it comes to court cases regarding gun rights the only two sides that are apt to file lawsuits are advocates of gun rights and advocates of gun control. Advocates of gun rights have good reason to file lawsuits against municipalities that violate gun rights but gun control advocates don’t because they want municipalities to violate gun rights. Without some kind of violation there aren’t grounds of lawsuits so it’s far more difficult for gun control advocates to initiate one. Furthermore the gun control movement has more limited resources available to it. The only gun control game in town that still has money is Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is funded by the personal fortunes of Mayor Bloomberg and his cronies. On the other hand the gun rights movement has the National Rifle Association (NRA), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Gun Owners of America (GOA), Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership (JFPO), and numerous state gun rights organizations. Combining forces these gun rights organizations have a funding base of millions of members. Considering the expense of hiring a lawyer that has the required credentials to argue in the Supreme Court it’s unlikely that gun control advocates are going to pursue such lawsuits.
If Obama appoints anti-gun justices to the Supreme Court the gun rights community stands to lose one of its most valuable tools, but it mostly control whether or not ground will be lost. The worst case scenario is that gun rights activists will need to pursue another strategy. One of my biggest criticisms of the NRA is their laser-like focus on a single strategy even when it’s ineffective. When one strategy fails or is no longer viable then another must be developed. Innovate or die is the name of the game. Just because the gun rights movement becomes cut off from the Supreme Court doesn’t mean the game is over, it means a different game must be played.
Of course the real problem is the fact that nine robe-adoren individuals can decide what is and isn’t allowed for an entire country but I touched on that argument already so I’ll not repeat it here.