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US Supreme Court declines to hear gun rights cases

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to hear rule on three new petitions that address the scope of the Second Amendment [Cornell LII backgrounder] of the Constitution. The Supreme Court denied the petitions [order list, PDF], two of which were filed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website], without opinion. In NRA v. Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] upheld a law prohibiting federally licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to anyone under the age of 21. In NRA v. McCraw [opinion], the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Texas statutory scheme that prohibits 18-20-year-olds from carrying firearms in public. Finally, in Lane v. Holder [opinion], the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] held that the plaintiffs lacked standing [Cornell LII backgrounder] to challenge a federal regulation restricting interstate transfers of hand guns. Paul Clement, who filed one of the appeals on behalf of the NRA, expressed frustration that the Supreme Court has been reluctant to hear Second Amendment cases since 2008, when it struck down a Washington, DC, gun ban in District of Columbia v. Heller [JURIST report].

Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, a number of states enacted restrictive gun control laws, many of which have been litigated in federal court. In January a federal district court in Connecticut upheld [JURIST report] the constitutionality of the state's new gun control law [JURIST report]. That same month a federal judge in Illinois struck down [JURIST report] part of Chicago's gun ordinance banning the licensed sale of firearms in the city. Also in January a federal judge in New York upheld [JURIST report] most of state's new gun control law [JURIST report], among the most restrictive in the country, but struck down a provision prohibiting owners to load more than seven rounds into a magazine. In May 2013 a group of Colorado County Sheriffs filed a federal law suit [JURIST report] challenging a series of gun control laws signed [JURIST report] into law in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

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