On Dec. 7, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to let a lower-court ruling stand that banned assault weapons [“Assault weapons ban stands,” News, Dec. 8]. Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said there is a substantial benefit to a law if it makes the public feel less at-risk from a mass shooting. By turning away a challenge to the law, the Supreme Court agreed that such a restriction on guns and large magazines was constitutional.
New York has a similar law, the SAFE Act, passed in 2013 after the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut.
As some legal scholars have said, the Supreme Court’s decision is important because, contrary to the dissents of justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, it makes clear that the Second Amendment does not allow unlimited access of individuals to all kinds of guns and magazines. It is now clear that there are limits on gun rights.
Justices Scalia and Thomas issued a strange dissent claiming that any restriction on assault weapons would eviscerate the Second Amendment. These two justices, seemingly fueled by anger, have become an embarrassment to American legal scholarship and standards of law.
Michael J. Gorman
Editor’s note: The writer is a retired NYPD lieutenant.