Rocky Mountain Gun Owners sues town of Superior, says gun laws are unconstitutional
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), a far-right gun rights group based in Colorado, has sued the town of Superior and Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.
The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, says the town's firearms and magazine regulations are unconstitutional and violate the rights of RMGO members who live there.
A Colorado law approved in 2021, after the deadly shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder, gave local governments in Colorado the power to pass gun regulations that are tougher than state laws.
In June, Superior voted to ban assault weapons, large capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and trigger activators. According to RMGO, the policy conflicts with residents' Second Amendment rights to bear arms in public. RMGO cites the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down a New York gun law passed in 1913 that required people to prove a need for carrying a handgun in public.
We affirm that standard capacity magazines and semi-automatic rifles are protected under the Second Amendment, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that owning and carrying firearms is an individual, incorporated, and enumerated right. Superiors anti-gun ordinance is historically and constitutionally bankrupt," Taylor Rhodes with RMGO said.
"Frankly, last months Bruen decision [on the New York law] gave gun rights organizations a 4-ton wrecking ball to dismantle gun laws that we have known to be unconstitutional since their conception. If you think this stops in the small town of Superior, you are mistaken; this has the potential to hold much broader implications."
Thomas gave the gunners a toolkit for knocking down almost any law that even Heller's 'reasonable restrictions' would have upheld.
The direct scope of Bruen of striking down carry permits needing good reason is nothing compared to the long term implications of the scrutiny change.
And by combat zone I dont mean a fun one like they used to have in Boston, but one where people walk around the grocery store like theyre on patrol in Iraq.
Yup, the term combat zone is morphing again. I used to avoid the one in Boston too FWIW.
And that requirement is precisely in the Constitution. No interpretation of intent required.
The 9th Circuit is already reconsidering California's Assault Weapons ban and high capacity magazine restrictions. They sent the AWB case back down to the district court to be reevaluated. The Maryland AWB also is getting looked at again, as well as NJ's magazine law.
potentially face people with assault weapons.
The Bruen case was different. Even though it was long standing and SCOTUS ruled in a way that surprised people, the issue of "may issue" on permits has been talked about as arbitrary for a long time. There weren't any standard rules that could be followed to obtain a permit. Basically, if the LE agency or administrative body liked you, you could get a permit. If not, you got denied, and there was no real way to appeal the decision. New York City can create a clear cut (even onerous) list of things that anyone can attempt for their permitting process, and it should stand up to scrutiny.
The jurisprudence on firearms regulations has been pretty stable regarding the ability of jurisdictions to permit or restrict certain features and types of firearms. Sawed off shotguns were banned and short barrel rifles were classified as a Type II weapon subject to strict regulation. Fully automatic weapons are not banned but they are very heavily regulated and as such are extremely expensive.
Nothing is out of bounds with the current court. They do not seem to care what precedent is, but while Bruen was upsetting, it was not completely out of the realm of possibility. Disallowing jurisdictions from any firearms policy would be a huge stretch.
The new review standard it mandates for gun laws is likely going to end much of those regulations. SCOTUS already vacated and remanded rulings regarding assault weapon bans and magazine capacity restrictions. CA's mag ban, NJ's mag ban, and MD's assault weapons ban cases all got vacated by SCOTUS and sent back to the lower courts with orders to apply Bruen to the cases. The 9th Circuit did the same to a challenge to CA's AWB. The District court originally upheld the ban. It was appealed to the 9th Circuit, who then sat on it until they could see which way Bruen went. Now that Bruen has come down with a new review standard, the 9th tossed the District courts ruling that upheld the ban and ordered them to reconsider it based on the new review standard in Bruen.
The ruling in Bruen however, appears to be about the "May issue" permitting being arbitrary and unclear.
I think this can backfire on the so called gun rights groups. Instead of banning by feature (which can be argued as arbitrary), states might look at it and ban by class based on firearms used in criminal activity. Auto loading anything might be on the menu.
But Thomas also included a new review standard that now applies to all 2A court cases going forward. That is where the worst of the damage was done.
That change is why the SCOTUS kicked several weapons bans bills back down for re-evaluation. The decisions to upheld them depended on arguments (typically involving intermediate scrutiny) that Thomas very carefully and thoroughly undermined. If the Bruen decision was just about may issue and carry permits, those cases would not be getting sent back for a do-over.
From the ruling
In keeping with Heller, we hold that when the Second Amendments plain text covers an individuals conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. To justify its
regulation, the government may not simply posit that the regulation promotes an important interest. Rather, the
government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nations historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this Nations historical tradition may a court conclude that the
individuals conduct falls outside the Second Amendments unqualified command.
So in other words, unless a gun law mimics what has historically been allowed to be restricted, Thomas's ruling says it violates the 2nd.
But it gets even trickier
The burden then falls on respondents to show that New Yorks
proper-cause requirement is consistent with this Nations historical
tradition of firearm regulation. To do so, respondents appeal to a variety of historical sources from the late 1200s to the early 1900s. But when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, not all history is created equal. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them. Heller, 554 U. S., at 634635. The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791; the Fourteenth in 1868. Historical evidence that long predates or postdates either time may not illuminate the scope of the right
So unless a state can find a commonly instituted restriction specifically from either the late 1700's or the mid 1800's, it would be overturned under the scrutiny standard set in Bruen. Thomas did this intentionally, knowing that almost nothing on the books today or discussed as a future safety measure would have a useable historical parallel from those periods. He created a very specific standard to make sure nothing could ever meet it.