“The Court should follow the Framers, not the NRA”
August 21, 2023
(WASHINGTON) With the Supreme Court considering another gun rights case next session, Global Action on Gun Violence (GAGV) has filed an amicus brief that launches a unique frontal attack on the Court’s extreme Second Amendment rulings. In its amicus brief in U.S. v. Rahimi, GAGV argues that the Court should overrule the NRA-friendly Heller and Bruen decisions and reinstate the militia-focused reading of the Second Amendment that was accepted for over two centuries. While GAGV agrees with many other organizations filing amicus briefs that argue that the federal ban on domestic abusers under a restraining order should be upheld, GAGV’s call for overruling the Court’s precedent stands alone among major gun violence prevention groups.
GAGV’s brief makes the case that the Supreme Court’s rulings in Heller and Bruen are wrongly decided, threaten public safety, and should be reversed.
GAGV president and founder Jonathan “Jon” Lowy said, “When it comes to the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court should follow the Framers of the Constitution, not the NRA. Especially now, with gun violence at record levels in the U.S. and spreading throughout the region, the Court’s extreme rulings are a threat to public safety, and they need to be discarded. The Court has wrongly adopted the NRA’s baseless guns-everywhere views and effectively erased the “well-regulated militia” half of the Second Amendment that was central to the Framers. Today’s Second Amendment may be loved by Wayne LaPierre, but it would be unrecognizable to James Madison who wrote it. Heller and Bruen are judicial activism at its worst.”
Lowy continued: “Americans should decide what safety laws they want and need, and judges should honor those democratic choices. Heller and Bruen threaten that right, as well as our fundamental right to live. The Rahimi case is a poster child for how Heller and Bruen are wrong, dangerous, and inconsistent with the American history and tradition of allowing public safety laws. If we want to end America’s gun violence epidemic and stop the spread of U.S. guns around the world, we need to get rid of these baseless rulings and reinstate the true meaning of the Second Amendment that allows Americans to enact the strong gun laws they want and need. The battle to overturn Heller and Bruen and reclaim Americans’ rights to public safety starts now.”
GAGV’s brief contends:
- Justice Scalia’s Heller opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) overturned 220 years of precedent and wrongly replaced the Framers’ intent of maintaining “a well-regulated militia,” with a private “right” to use guns in self-defense that is unmentioned in the Constitution.
- NYSRPA v. Bruen (2022) undermines present-day gun laws and public safety needs by requiring that such laws have roots in similar 18th- or 19th-century laws.
- With these decisions, the Supreme Court has rewritten the Second Amendment to enshrine a dangerous and erroneous super-right to guns that contradicts the American tradition of allowing for strong public safety laws, as well as international human rights law that that U.S. is obligated to follow.
- While the Court claims to be “originalist,” its erroneous rulings in Heller and Bruen run contrary to the intended meaning of the Second Amendment and the Framers’ vision of a government that protects life and public safety.
Global Action on Gun Violence was founded August 31, 2022 as a non-profit organization dedicated to ending gun violence in the U.S. and throughout the world, using litigation, human rights actions, advocacy and messaging. GAGV’s work includes representing the Government of Mexico in anti-gun trafficking litigation, acting as foreign legal counsel in a Canadian gun lawsuit, and calling on the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and other international bodies to address cross-border gun trafficking more rigorously. Lowy has litigated Second Amendment and other gun cases for over 25 years.