At the White House on Thursday, President Joe Biden reacted to the day’s Supreme Court decision upholding Americans’ Second Amendment right to concealed carry firearms.
The 6-3 SCOTUS decision handed down with the majority opinion delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas has drawn a number of heated reactions from the nation’s Democratic mayors and governors.
Biden joined them by giving his own convoluted reaction to the high court’s ruling. Watch:
“I am disappointed in the Supreme Court gun decision,” Biden said. “There is one little bit of solace in the minority making up the majority opinion… has laid out that it affects not every state. It affects only 40 states. A lot of states it affects.”
“And the phrase that I found noticeable was, there’s a difference between states that say ‘may’ and they, and say, ‘shall’ [issue]. If you have to say, you ‘shall’ give, you shall do, A, B, C, they’re the ones that are going to have problems.”
“But most say ‘may.’ I mean, ‘may’ and I got it reversed, may and ‘shall,” Biden said. “And so there are the gun laws in 40 states are still in place based on the decision. Not good enough, but it’s I think it’s a bad decision. I think it’s not reasoned accurately, but I’m disappointed.”
President Biden got it exactly backwards, as may not have been clear from his self-correction. The following is what the Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen says.
“New York is not alone in requiring a permit to carry a handgun in public. But the vast majority of States—43 by our count—are ‘shall issue’ jurisdictions, where authorities must issue concealed-carry licenses whenever applicants satisfy certain threshold requirements, without granting licensing officials discretion to deny licenses based on a perceived lack of need or suitability. Meanwhile, only six States and the District of Columbia have ‘may issue’ licensing laws,” the opinion reads.
The majority opinion points out that the “Proper cause” provision of such “may issue” gun laws is unconstitutional. Critically, Thomas bases his ruling not only on the Second Amendment, but on the Fourteenth Amendment’s incorporation clause.
Under such a legal rubric, it is nearly inconceivable that the “red flag” laws in the gun control package about to be passed through Congress with Senate Republican assistance would pass Constitutional muster. It is arguable that the “red flag” laws would violate not only the Second Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment, but also Fifth Amendment due process rights.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.