Scirica, who was joined by 3rd Circuit Judge Michael A. Chagares and visiting U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez of the District of New Jersey, looked to First Amendment law in deciding that the federal ban on guns with obliterated serial numbers should be subjected to “intermediate scrutiny.”
But even if the law were held to strict scrutiny, Scirica said, it would still pass constitutional muster.
“Serial number tracing serves a governmental interest in enabling law enforcement to gather vital information from recovered firearms,” Scirica wrote, “Because it assists law enforcement in this manner, we find its preservation is not only a substantial but a compelling interest.”
Overall I think this is a reasonable ruling, and shows the courts are willing to take the Second Amendment as seriously as other constitutional rights. The fortunate thing here is that Judge Scirica rejected a rational basis test, which was asked for by the US Attorney, and made the comparison directly to the First Amendment. Orin Kerr has more here, including a link to the opinion itself. Eugene Volokh is cited.
So it would seem at least that three judges of the Third Circuit are willing to treat the Second Amendment fairly. This is encouraging.
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