The New York Times Is Surprised To Find Public Defenders Championing the Second Amendment

By Damon Root, Reason

Yet the civil rights movement has long had a gun rights component.

A group of public defense lawyer organizations recently joined forces with Second Amendment advocates to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate a New York gun control scheme. Now that the scheme has been successfully overturned in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which held that the Second Amendment includes the right “to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” public defenders have begun citing the Court’s ruling to protect the rights of their clients.

This state of affairs has left some New York Times journalists scratching their heads in surprise. As a recent Times headline put it: “Unlikely Fans of Supreme Court Ruling on Guns: Public Defenders.” The accompanying article describes the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid, the Bronx Defenders, and other groups as “unexpected” allies of the gun rights movement.

But the alliance seems less “unexpected” when you remember that gun control has a racially disparate impact. As the public defender groups told the Supreme Court in an amicus brief, “New York enacted its firearm licensing requirements to criminalize gun ownership by racial and ethnic minorities. That remains the effect of its enforcement by police and prosecutors today.” In other words, Bruen was a win for both gun rights and criminal justice reform.


Categories: Law/Justice

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