Though the Second Amendment is one of the most hotly contested parts of the Constitution, there still needs to be some clarity brought to it by the courts, according to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
“The Supreme Court hasn’t addressed Second Amendment boundaries with much frequency at all during our history,” said Schmidt. “The last Supreme Court case was in 1939, until about 10 years ago, when there were a quick two cases. There’s a fourth one that’s up and pending. There aren’t a lot of data points that help us understand where the court draws the line.”
Schmidt led a group of eight state attorneys general this week in filing a legal brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal and reverse a recent ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that firearms accessories fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment.
“We think there is some universe of accessories, for example, things that are necessary and appropriate for the operation of a firearm, things like ammunition, for example, to use the most extreme example, that have to have some amount of Second Amendment protection in order for the Second Amendment to have meaning.”
Since gun owners are not typically making their own musket balls like they might have back in the 1700s, it’s important to figure out exactly where the protection covers and where it does not.
“We know that there are certain things that are probably going to be outside the protection of the Second Amendment,” said Schmidt. “The Supreme Court referenced some examples of that in one of their cases ten years ago, but we also know that, just as a matter of logic, there have to be things that are not a firearm itself, but that nonetheless have Second Amendment protection, because without them, the firearm is useless.”
Kansas was joined in its brief by Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. The attorneys general asked the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision in a federal case that arose from Kansas involving an individual who possessed a sound suppressor. The Supreme Court is expected to decide later this spring whether or not to hear the appeal.