When Texas’ bizarre new six-week abortion ban went into effect Sept. 1, deputizing citizens to enforce the law by suing each other for up to $10,000 for helping someone to obtain the procedure, a reasonable worry among conservatives was that allowing private citizens to sue each other to enforce a particular ban might limit other constitutional rights, like oh, say, owning a gun. And wouldn’t you know it, at least one gun rights group agrees.
On Thursday, the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court hearing arguments in the Texas case and striking down the law. FPC describes itself as “a nonprofit membership organization that works to defend constitutional rights and promote individual liberty, including the right to keep and bear arms and the freedom of speech, throughout the United States.”
While FPC doesn’t take a position on abortion in the brief, it argues that courts allowing an unconstitutional law to stand because it’s enforced by people’s neighbors, rather than the state, is a slippery slope. “If pre-enforcement review can be evaded in the context of abortion it can and will be evaded in the context of the right to keep and bear arms...It is hardly speculation to suggest that if Texas succeeds in its gambit here, New York, California, New Jersey, and others will not be far behind in adopting equally aggressive gambits to not merely chill but to freeze the right to keep and bear arms.”
You don’t say!
The brief also mentions that Texas-style bounty hunting laws could be passed to mandate COVID-19 vaccination and mask-wearing.
The court announced on Friday that it will indeed hear arguments in the Texas abortion case on November 1, but only relating to whether the Department of Justice has a right to sue the state to block the law’s enforcement, not on whether the law itself is constitutional. Lawyers said in a press call on Friday that they hope the Court will block the 6-week ban from being enforced shortly after that hearing while the litigation proceeds, but it’s not guaranteed.
It’s fairly common sense to surmise if that Texas can enforce an anti-abortion law through its citizens, a more liberal state might be able to enforce a ban on guns in the same manner. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, as they say. We’re looking forward to hearing from the courts on this.