Supreme Court’s Refusal To Hear a NJ Firearms Case Disappoints Many Gun Owners

Battle New Jersey Gun Rights
Supreme Court’s Refusal To Hear a NJ Firearms Case Disappoints Many Gun Owners
Gun Owners of America
Gun Owners of America

Washington, DC –-( On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Drake v. Jerejian, which involves a New Jersey citizen who has been denied his right to carry a concealed firearm.

Gun Owners of America had filed an amicus brief in the case, challenging the state law which requires officials to find “justifiable need” before granting a concealed carry permit.

There are steep penalties for carrying a gun without a permit in New Jersey; it is a felony that is punishable by five to ten years in prison.

Two lower federal courts had ruled against John Drake and stated that there is no constitutionally protected right to carry concealed firearms.

By refusing to hear this case, the Supreme Court has effectively let the lower courts’ decision stand.

While the High Court’s refusal to hear the case is disappointing, one should be careful not to read too much into the decision. The Supreme Court takes only a fraction of one percent of the cases that are submitted to it for review.

The rumor in Washington was that pro-gun Justice Antonin Scalia was trying to assemble five Supreme Court votes to overturn New Jersey’s statute. And just because he hasn’t found those votes yet doesn’t mean they won’t eventually emerge.

That’s why the Court’s refusal to hear this case should only be considered a setback — although it’s certainly disappointing, especially for the citizens of New Jersey.

But we should not lose sight of the fact that we won two very important Court decisions — in Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) — which both affirm the individual right to keep and bear arms.

In his 2008 dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer lamented that the Heller decision “threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States.” (Breyer dissent in Heller, p. 44.)

In fact, the Heller and McDonald decisions have already led to the repeal of some anti-gun laws around the country. But the Court’s refusal to “follow through” since then has left many people frustrated.

As stated by the Cato Institute, “It’s as if the Supreme Court announced that the First Amendment protects an individual right to blog about politics from your home computer, but then some lower courts allowed states to ban political blogging from your local Starbucks.”

And that’s why gun owners should not look to the courts as the final arbiter of the Constitution. So the lesson in all of this is: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Should we be involved in the courts? Yes, and in fact, GOA has been involved in virtually every major gun case in recent history (including Heller and McDonald).

But we should never forget what constitutes the Supreme Law of the Land, under Article VI of the Constitution.

First, there’s the Constitution itself. Second, there are laws passed “in pursuance” to the Constitution. Finally, treaties made under the authority of the United States are supreme law, as well.

(You will notice that Supreme Court opinions are NOT listed in that group.)

So while Gun Owners of America will remain active in the courts, we will also continue to spend most of our time helping you — as a member of the most active grassroots movement at the national level — to lobby your Representatives and Senators, so we don’t have to rely on Obama-appointed judges to bail us out from bad legislation.

We thank you for your activism, and we encourage you to continue forwarding our alerts so that we multiply our voice on Capitol Hill.

Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585
FAX: 703-321-8408

About:Gun Owners of America (GOA) is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue. `The only no comprise gun lobby in Washington’ – Ron Paul Visit: to Join.

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Charles you are 100% right, no need to take the case, by not taking the case the court is telling us ‘if you do not like the local law(s) then get them changed.

It is my hope that the citizens of NJ and elsewhere will vote to get these foolish laws replaced with concealed carry.

Charles Nichols

There was absolutely no reason for the US Supreme Court to take the Drake case. SCOTUS has already held that Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution and that concealed carry can be banned. Drake sought a permit which would have allowed him to carry a handgun concealed. Just as in the Woollard case out of Maryland, it did not matter if the same permit allows one to openly carry a handgun. This is the fourth concealed carry case brought by the SAF and NRA where cert has been denied. That doesn’t include the hundreds of criminal concealed… Read more »