The new Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights threatens to upend firearms restrictions across the U.S. as activists wage court battles over everything from bans on AR-15-style guns to age limits.
The June decision has led one judge temporarily to block a Colorado town from enforcing a ban on the sale and possession of certain semi-automatic weapons, the Associated Press reports.
“The gun rights movement has been given a weapon of mass destruction, and it will annihilate approximately 75 percent of the gun laws eventually,” said Evan Nappen, a New Jersey gun rights attorney.
The court battles come as 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.
“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 of the gun control group Brady.
The Supreme Court struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need to get a license to carry a concealed gun in public, saying it violates Second Amendment rights. Several other states including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws.
In Massachusetts police chiefs can no longer deny or impose restrictions on licenses just because the applicant doesn’t have a “good reason” to carry a gun. New York quickly passed a new concealed-weapon law, but Republicans predict it will also end up being overturned.
“Basically, the Supreme Court has given an invitation for the gun lobby to file lawsuits against virtually every gun law in America,” Lowry said.
In the Colorado case, federal judge Raymond Moore, who was nominated by President Obama, said he was sympathetic to the town’s goal of preventing mass shootings like the one that killed 10 people at a grocery store in nearby Boulder last year. Moore said he didn’t know of “historical precedent” for a law banning “a type of weapon that is commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” so the gun rights groups have a strong case against the ordinance.
Taylor Rhodes of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said the Supreme Court decision "gave us a 4-ton wrecking ball.”