A Death-Dealing Decision: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

We lament the U. S. Supreme Court ‘s death-dealing ruling announced this morning in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.

Justice Clarence Thomas and the five justices who supported his opinion have failed to recognize that their exceedingly expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment is now eroding many of the freedoms guaranteed by the First.

The news provides us with constant reminders of how easy it is to buy a lethal weapon, carry it into a place of worship and open fire.  Consider:

  • the killing of six beloved children of God at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012;
  • of nine at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015;
  • of 26 at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas in November 2017;
  • of 11 at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018;
  • of five at The Church in Sacramento in March;
  • of one at Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Orange County, California in May
  • and of three at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vistavia Hills, Alabama on June 16.

How, in this context, do the justices not understand that the free exercise of religion is under daily threat, as is the right to gather in large numbers for any purpose at all?

The Supreme Court had previously held that Second Amendment may be subject to regulations that protect “sensitive places.” Houses of worship are just such places. Yet today’s ruling puts people of faith at greater risk when we gather for prayer, worship, fellowship and service.