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The Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights threatens to upend firearms restrictions across the country as activists wage court battles over everything from bans on AR-15-style guns to age limits.

The decision handed down in June already has led one judge to temporarily block a Colorado town from enforcing a ban on the sale and possession of certain semi-automatic weapons.

The first major gun decision in more than a decade, the ruling could dramatically reshape gun laws in the U.S. even as a series of horrific mass shootings pushes the issue back into the headlines.

“The gun rights movement has been given a weapon of mass destruction, and it will annihilate approximately 75% of the gun laws eventually,” said Evan Nappen, a New Jersey gun rights attorney.

The court battles come as the Biden administration and police departments across the U.S. struggle to combat a surge in violent crime and mass shootings, including several high-profile killings carried out by suspects who purchased their guns legally.

And given the sheer number of cases now working through the courts, a lot more time will be spent in courtrooms no matter who wins.

“We will see a lot of tax dollars and government resources that should be used to stop gun crime being used to defend gun laws that are lifesaving and wildly popular,” said Jonathan Lowry, chief counsel and vice president at Brady, the gun control group.


The right to use contraceptives would be inscribed into law under a measure that Democrats pushed through the House on Thursday, their latest campaign-season response to concerns a conservative Supreme Court that already erased federal abortion rights could go further.

The House’s 228-195 roll call was largely along party lines and sent the measure to the Senate, where its fate seemed uphill. The bill is the latest example of Democrats latching onto their own version of culture war battles to appeal to female, progressive and minority voters by casting the court and Republicans as extremists intent on obliterating rights taken for granted for years.

Democrats said that with the high court recently overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision from 1973, the justices and GOP lawmakers are on track to go even further than banning abortions.

“This extremism is about one thing: control of women. We will not let this happen,” said Rep. Kathy Manning, D-N.C., who sponsored the legislation. All of the bill’s nearly 150 co-sponsors are Democrats.

In his opinion overturning Roe last month, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should now review other precedents. He mentioned rulings that affirmed the rights of same-sex marriage in 2015, same-sex intimate relationships in 2003 and married couples’ use of contraceptives in 1965.


The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York state law that had restricted who could obtain a permit to carry a gun in public. Under the law in place since 1913, New York residents needed to show proper cause, or an actual need, to carry a concealed handgun in public for self-defense..

The justices said that law conflicts with the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. It drew swift reaction from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who called the decision reckless and said she was prepared to call the Legislature back into session to form a response.

“We do not need people entering our subways, our restaurants and movie theaters with concealed weapons,” she said. “We don’t need more guns on our streets.”

New York and a half a dozen other states with similar laws now must decide their next steps. As with New York, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have legislatures controlled by Democrats who could propose measures to ensure that guns will not be allowed in certain places.aws.


The North Carolina Supreme Court reinstated a man’s murder and robbery convictions in the death of his co-worker on Friday, reversing an appellate ruling that had declared the circumstantial evidence at trial was too weak for guilty verdicts.

A divided panel of the state Court of Appeals last August had vacated the 2019 convictions of David Myron Dover in the 2016 stabbing death of 79-year-old Arthur “Buddy” Davis in Kannapolis. Dover and Davis worked at the same automobile sales store. Their boss found Davis in his home, stabbed more than a dozen times. Dover was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In a 5-2 ruling, the state’s highest court said the trial judge had been right to deny Dover’s motion to dismiss the case after prosecutors presented their evidence.

According to court opinions, Dover had a substance abuse problem and had asked his girlfriend to look in a trash can near his house for about $3,000 in cash to help him post bail on a charge unrelated to Davis. Evidence from cellphone records also shows his phone was in the vicinity of Davis’ home, even as Dover told police initially he had been at home the night before Davis was found dead.

“Here substantial evidence supports the reasonable inference that defendant murdered the victim and took $3,000” from Davis, Chief Justice Paul Newby wrote in the majority opinion. The evidence also was sufficient to infer that Dover had gone to Davis’ home that night, Newby wrote, and case law establishes that when an accused person makes conflicting statements about a crime, it may be considered a circumstance of someone “possessed of a guilty conscience” seeking to divert suspicion.


The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Native Americans prosecuted in certain tribal courts can also be prosecuted based on the same incident in federal court, which can result in longer sentences.

The 6-3 ruling is in keeping with an earlier ruling from the 1970s that said the same about a more widely used type of tribal court.

The case before the justices involved a Navajo Nation member, Merle Denezpi, accused of rape. He served nearly five months in jail after being charged with assault and battery in what is called a Court of Indian Offenses, a court that deals exclusively with alleged Native American offenders.

Under federal law Courts of Indian Offenses can only impose sentences of generally up to a year. The man was later prosecuted in federal court and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He said the Constitution’s “Double Jeopardy” clause should have barred the second prosecution.

But the justices disagreed.

“Denezpi’s single act led to separate prosecutions for violations of a tribal ordinance and a federal statute. Because the Tribe and the Federal Government are distinct sovereigns, those” offenses are not the same, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote for a majority of the court. “Denezpi’s second prosecution therefore did not offend the Double Jeopardy Clause.”

The Biden administration had argued for that result as had several states, which said barring federal prosecutions in similar cases could allow defendants to escape harsh sentences.

The case before the justices involves a tribal court system that has become increasingly rare over the last century. Courts of Indian Offenses were created in the late 1800s during a period when the federal government’s policy toward Native Americans was to encourage assimilation. Prosecutors are federal officers answerable to federal authorities, not tribal authorities.

Federal policy toward Native Americans shifted in the mid-1930s, however, to emphasize a greater respect for tribes’ native ways. As part of that, the government has encouraged tribes to create their own tribal courts, and the number of Courts of Indian Offenses has steadily decreased. Today there are five regional Courts of Indian Offenses that serve 16 tribes in Colorado, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. They are generally tribes with a small number of members or limited resources. Nationwide there are more than 570 federally recognized tribes.

The court said in 1978 that the Double Jeopardy clause did not bar the federal government from prosecuting a Native person in federal court after a tribal court prosecution, so the only question for the court this time was whether the rule should be different for Courts of Indian Offenses.

In July 2017, Denezpi traveled with a female member of the Navajo Nation to Towaoc, Colorado, which is a part of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. While there, Denezpi raped the woman.

Denezpi was first charged in a Court of Indian Offenses with assault and battery, among other things. He eventually agreed to a so-called Alford plea in the case, not admitting guilt but acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence that he would likely be convicted at trial. He was sentenced to time served, 140 days in jail. His prosecution in federal court followed.


West Virginia’s Supreme Court has overturned a man’s 2017 murder conviction, citing errors by a trial judge.

In an opinion released Thursday, the court ordered a new trial for Oscar Combs Sr., who was convicted in the 2013 death of Teresa Lynn Ford of the Mercer County community of Matoaka.

The court said in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Hutchison that Combs did not receive a fair trial because now-retired Wyoming County Circuit Judge Warren McGraw gave improper instructions to the jury and allowed evidence to be submitted at trial from Combs’ murder trial in a separate, earlier case.

According to circuit court records, Ford had told a friend that she was going to meet Combs to sell him her van. Combs was seen driving Ford’s van in the days after her disappearance. He later sold the vehicle to a used car dealer.

Ford’s remains were found near Combs’ home in Wyoming County. Combs was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.


Kansas’ highest court on Wednesday upheld a Republican redistricting law that makes it harder for the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation to win reelection in a big victory for the GOP.

The state Supreme Court declined for now to declare that overly partisan gerrymandering violates the Kansas Constitution. The ruling sets district boundaries less than a month before the state’s June 10 filing deadline for congressional candidates.

The court’s opinion was two paragraphs long, saying only that the voters and voting rights group challenging the map “have not prevailed on their claims” that the map violated the state constitution and that a full opinion would come later.

The brief decision was written by Justice Caleb Stegall, who is seen as the most conservative of the court’s seven justices, five of whom were appointed by Democratic governors. During arguments from attorneys on Monday, he questioned whether anyone could clearly define improper partisan gerrymandering.

Lawsuits over new congressional district lines have proliferated across the U.S., with Republicans looking to recapture a U.S. House majority in this year’s midterm elections. Congressional maps in at least 17 states have inspired lawsuits, according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice.

In the past, congressional district lines have been reviewed by federal judges and not the state Supreme Court. The conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in 2019 that complaints about partisan gerrymandering are political issues and not for the federal courts to resolve.

The state’s Republican-appointed solicitor general argued in defending the GOP-drawn map that because the state constitution doesn’t specifically mention gerrymandering or congressional redistricting, the Kansas Supreme Court should reject the legal challenges. He and other state officials said that the justices had no guidance on how to define improper political gerrymandering.

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