Senate Republicans introduced legislation Thursday to codify the Supreme Court’s 2022 landmark ruling protecting the Second Amendment right to self-defense, holding that any gun control law must comply with the nation’s history dating back to the founding.
The legislation, backed by all GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would codify the high court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
The 6-3 decision, issued last June, was authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, who said New York’s gun-licensing requirement that a person must show proper need to carry a firearm ran afoul of the Second Amendment right to self-defense.
In the opinion, the court said any gun control law must have a historic tradition in order to comply with the Second Amendment.
By codifying the ruling, any future Supreme Court would struggle with changes or reversals.
“We have a Bill of Rights and it is not an a la carte menu. Every right as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court matters,” said Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican.
The legislation also creates a requirement for the government to pay attorney fees when an individual successfully challenges Second Amendment infringements in court.
“With this bill, we are ensuring that the rights affirmed by the Supreme Court are part of the federal code — and preventing a future Supreme Court from reversing this decision. The Respect for the Second Amendment Act will memorialize the holdings in these landmark Supreme Court cases and provide further protection to the Second Amendment,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.
“We need to have a vote on this bill,” he added.
But with Democrats controlling the upper chamber, it’s unlikely the legislation will proceed.
The move comes after President Biden announced an executive order this week aimed at increasing background checks related to firearm sales.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing this week to examine how lawmakers can uphold public safety following the high court’s decision in Bruen, which has led to numerous laws being struck down.
In February, a federal appeals court struck down a measure banning the possession of a firearm by anyone under a court order for domestic violence, such as stalking, harassing or threatening an intimate partner.
“I can’t square that decision with the actual danger that women and police officers face from armed domestic abusers, and I don’t believe the founders of our nation would want courts to ignore this danger when applying the Constitution they wrote,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, on Wednesday.
“The chaos the Bruen decision has caused is predictable,” he added.