It’s high time for the court to begin making sense of Second Amendment law. That doesn’t mean making a sweeping judgment on “assault weapons,” concealed carry, or anything else, but equipping the lower courts with the tools they need to decide cases consistently. The high court said in Heller that laws implicating the Second Amendment must be subject to heightened judicial scrutiny—as opposed to the “rational basis” standard under which the government usually wins. But some circuits have disregarded even that simple directive. The Second Circuit has determined that “marginal, incremental, or even appreciable restraints on the right to keep and bear arms” necessitate no heightened scrutiny…

It’s understandable for the Supreme Court to be wary of disrupting longstanding state laws, but the court has refused opportunities to clarify the way these laws are to be interpreted even in the narrowest situations. Last year the court refused to hear Silvester v. Becerra, concerning the application of an arbitrary wait time to a firearm owner’s subsequent gun purchases, and Teixeira v. Alameda County, concerning the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to sell arms. Justice Clarence Thomas derided the court’s continued resistance to clarifying the Second Amendment in his dissent from the denial in Silvester—Justice Neil Gorsuch joined him on a similar dissent in 2017—pointing out that second-class treatment of the Second Amendment has encouraged the lower courts to codify their policy preferences.