Supreme Court Side-Steps Second Amendment Again

By Jeff Knox

Concealed Carry by State
Concealed Carry by State

Buckeye, AZ –-( Once again, the US Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal in a case concerning the Second Amendment and bearing arms for self-defense outside the home.

On Monday May 5 2014, without comment, the Court rejected the case of Drake, et al. v. Jerejian.

The case challenged New Jersey’s law regarding concealed carry.

Under that law, a person applying for a license to carry a concealed firearm must prove a “justifiable need” to even be considered, and can still be denied at the whim of local law enforcement.

The “justifiable need” provision requires that the person prove “specific threats or previous attacks demonstrating a special danger to applicant's life that cannot be avoided by other means.” The plaintiffs in the Drake case included a man who restocks ATM money machines, a Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy, a civilian employee of the FBI, and a person who was the victim in an interstate kidnapping. All of them had been denied the right to carry by New Jersey’s system.

The Federal Appeals Court for the 3rd Circuit (NJ, PA, DE, and PR) ruled that the law’s stringent requirements are not a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. By refusing to review that ruling, the Supreme Court allows that 3rd Circuit ruling to stand. In recent months, similar rulings in similar cases challenging carry restrictions in New York and Maryland were also ruled constitutional by the 2nd and 4th Circuit Courts (NY, VT, CT, and RI, and WV, VA, MD, NC, and SC respectively) and were refused review by the Supreme Court.

In contrast, a case in the 7th Circuit (WI, IL, and IN) ruled in the opposite direction, forcing the state of Illinois to adopt a reasonable process for lawful carry outside the home. Illinois was the only state in the country with laws completely forbidding defensive carry. The Illinois Attorney General decided not to appeal the decision and the legislature cobbled together a system for issuing carry licenses. Two recent cases in the 9th Circuit (CA and 8 other western states) went further, concluding that California’s “needs-based,” discretionary system for licensing self-defense carry is too strict and arbitrary, and therefore unconstitutional. Those cases represent a dramatic split in the way the various circuits are treating Second Amendment cases since the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in Heller and McDonald. Splits like this put pressure on the Supreme Court to clarify the issue and bring all of the circuit courts into alignment under one standard, but there is no legal requirement that they do so.

With the Court’s decision not to hear Drake, the focus of the rights community has shifted back to the West again and the 9th Circuit’s decisions in the Richards and Peruta cases. Both cases were decided by the same 3-judge panel and both have been petitioned for an en banc hearing by a larger panel of the circuit’s judges. Things get a little complicated at this point because the Richards case is dependent upon the Peruta case and is on hold pending resolution of Peruta. I’m no lawyer, but based on the makeup of the 9th Circuit, I don’t see much chance of the Peruta decision surviving an en banc hearing, and I’m sure there are many judges in the Circuit anxious for an opportunity to reverse that decision.

Regardless of the outcome of the en banc petition, the case will almost assuredly be appealed to the Supreme Court. Whether the Court will decide to take it up or not is anyone’s guess. How many people will die or be seriously injured in the interim for lack of a legal means of effective self-defense is also an open question.

One of the most frustrating aspects to the legal wrangling over bearing arms, aside from the obvious meaning of the Second Amendment, is the fact that there is clear evidence readily available which proves that restrictions on citizens bearing arms for self-defense do not enhance public safety. There is also ample evidence that having few or no restrictions on citizens bearing arms for lawful purposes not only does not have a negative impact on public safety, but often makes the public safer.

All of the arguments against free exercise of the right to bear arms are based on negative assumptions about, and mistrust of, our fellow citizens, and everywhere those assumptions have been tested, the citizens have proven them to be baseless.

The 50 laboratories we call states – and the hundreds of cities within them – have been carrying out ongoing experiments for over 100 years – some over 200 years – and when it comes to guns and self-defense, the results are in: Gun control laws don’t work, and removing legal impediments to citizens carrying firearms does not result in any of the negative consequences that are always predicted.

Perhaps one of these days the Supreme court will hear the Peruta case or some other case looking at these issues and they will finally acknowledge that the Second Amendment actually means what it says; that individual citizens have the right to choose when, where, and how they want to keep and bear their arms for defense of themselves, their families, and the state.

Concealed Carry is recognized as a right in most states. Only a few states treat it as a privilege and severely restrict, or in the case of DC deny, the right to carry.

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  • 11 thoughts on “Supreme Court Side-Steps Second Amendment Again

    1. The “supreme court” is moot!! Once again refusing to do the ONLY job they are prescribed under The Constitution, and that is to decide wholey if a law is Constitutional or not, which is simple in this case but very important to a free citizenry!! There is a ongoing government agenda and they are part of it as they give the appearance that what government entities are doing is ok and the citizenry should follow without recourse!! Tyranny at it’s core!!

    2. I think they at the Supreme Court are waiting for the Senate to ratify the small arms treaty so they don’t have to rule on anymore Second Amendment issues. They are cowards and want to pass the buck onto congress.

    3. We are fighting the wrong battle. We should not be trying to get the courts to legitimize the PRIVILEGE of concealed carry, but the RIGHT of open carry.

    4. I keep saying there is no way in the pits of hades that SCOTUS will ever take a case that has them directly looking at the 2A. Cause there is only one way they can rule on it. So they refuse to. This is just one of many reasons why the justices need to be elected by the population and not appointed.

    5. Jeffrey, I would politely disagree with you. The correct word is “Liberals”. There is a simple phrase in the Constitution which states, “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” These rights have been slowly eroding. Are there reasonable restrictions? I believe so. I do not want a convicted murderer or thief being able to carry a gun. By the committing of a crime they have forfeited the right to carry arms. But for everyone else there should be absolutely no restrictions. You should not even have to apply for a permit! Any law that makes it more difficult to get a gun is a restriction or and infringement! The Constitution is clear.

    6. SCOTUS is waiting for Peruta and Richards to become final in the 9th. Even if an en banc hearing reverses the 3-judge panel, there will still be a circuit-split with the 7th that will need to be resolved.
      Plus, I think the Justices at SCOTUS can read that map as well as any of us.

    7. When the congress almost passed concealed carry reciprocity a few years ago the nj attorney general said he would not recognize the federal law until it was upheld by the supreme court and the head of the state police would not recognize it until he was ordered by a court to do so. This is he status of nj law.

    8. Again, I can assure you certain members of the Supremes are NO different from regular judges that get certain offers of support of various kinds for the families of these justices. While beyond reproach, they are not above certain types of approach. Our country nowadays is just what it is–just look at the Attorney General and what he cares to enforce and not enforce and helps create with in the hopes of building a case–illegal guns to Mexico. The loyal democrats,the left, and worse MUST get these guns out of the hands of the citizens first; then…

    9. No spine SCOTUS needs to be cleaned out. Replaced with judges who will not cave to the liberal, communist, demorats.

    10. I’m sick & tired of all the” May” crap when someone goes for
      A legal 2A gun CCW permit. The wording is clear as the Liberty Bell
      How many people have to die, get raped, car jacked, robbed.
      Before you dumb people who call themselves judges.
      Do the right thing. FOLLOW THE LAW.
      You do that then I will call you JUDGE, until then
      You hopefully will prove yourselves before this country
      Explodes from inside out, to cleanse the verman within.
      Take heed, this is comming SOON.

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