By Mark Walters
Editors Note: AmmoLand News welcomes Mark Walters to our growing list of the best and brightest gun rights commentators, who are watching out for your RKBA.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Well, the Supreme Court refused to hear the Peruta case on Monday.
Okay, now what?
I’m hearing a ton of “gloom and doom” from many in the pro-rights community and frankly, I’m kind of disappointed. Like everyone else, I’ve had time to ponder the decision not to take the case. Am I disappointed that the court decided not to hear Peruta? Of course I am, but I’m not pulling my hair out. I am of the opinion that a better case exists.
Yes, like you I’m anxious for this to be resolved. I want it done. It’s high time the court ruled on the splits in the circuits but I’m also aware that they eventually will. But when?
When Wrenn v. DC makes it to SCOTUS for review, that’s when. And we’ll win. Hands down.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a liberal justice or two come over to our side when the ruling is finally issued. That’s my gut and I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.
The DC case is stronger than Peruta, sets us up for a victory and with the current makeup of the court, (one swing vote with Kennedy) a couple of justices may not have wanted to hear Peruta for fear it could have been lost knowing the next (and only) one we tee up, (Wrenn v. DC), won’t be lost. I’m not uncomfortable about it, just impatient, but able to put that aside for now. Here’s a taste of the decision in Wrenn as a reminder:
[T]his Court agrees with defendants that the District’ s interest in public safety is implicated by people carrying guns in public, and certainly more so than when they keep guns within the confines of their homes. But, unfortunately for defendants, it does not automatically follow that the District has a compelling interest in reducing to the greatest extent possible the number of law-abiding, responsible citizens eligible to carry guns in public. Rather, when the District’s pursuit of public safety substantially burdens conduct protected by the Second Amendment, as issuing licenses only in certain self-defense situations does, it must at the very least prove that the policy achieves significant public safety gains and that those gains would not be achieved by a more inclusive licensing policy.
Defendants have failed to meet these criteria, and I am skeptical that they can. They waste much ink on the irrelevant contention that plaintiffs cannot prove that “more guns equals less crime.” In strict scrutiny review, however, defendants bear the burden of justifying their policy. More important still, defendants do not even attempt to explain why the District’s licensing scheme could not be broader and allow for more responsible, law-abiding citizens to obtain concealed carry permits for their legitimate self-defense needs, while simultaneously protecting public safety.
All they offer by way of reasoning is that all guns, even guns carried in self-defense, increase the incentive for criminals to carry guns, or increase the chances for accidents. But as plaintiffs rightly emphasize, “it is ‘not a permissible strategy’ to reduce the alleged negative effects of a constitutionally protected right by simply reducing the number of people exercising the right.”
Rather, the District’s licensing restrictions would only be narrowly tailored to achieve public safety if they were targeted at keeping guns away from the people who are likely to misuse them or situations where they are likely to be misused. On the record before me, I must agree with plaintiffs that defendants are unlikely to be able to show the “good reason” requirement is narrowly tailored to this end. . . .
Although the District’s “good reason” requirement likely does keep guns out of the hands of some people likely to misuse them, it does so only by keeping guns out of the hands of most people. . . . Because the District’s law is likely wholly disproportionate to the public interest it could legitimately serve, there is a strong likelihood plaintiffs will ultimately succeed in showing the law is not narrowly tailored and is, therefore, unconstitutional. . . .
In Heller, the Supreme Court’s unequivocally asserted that “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” The District’s understandable, but overly zealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the Justices had in mind.
Because the right to bear arms includes the right to carry firearms for self-defense both in and outside the home, I find that the District’s “good reason” requirement likely places an unconstitutional burden on this right. Accordingly, I hereby GRANT plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and enter an order that enjoins the District of Columbia from denying concealed carry licenses to applicants who meet all eligibility requirements other than the “good reason” requirement. . . .
Keep this in mind–It is still possible to get a CCW in some parts of California, it’s virtually impossible to get a CCW in all of D.C. I know it sucks for those in California but in reality, what the court’s decision (not to take) Peruta means is what was yesterday is today. No changes. Hang in there everyone. The day of reckoning is coming and I’m betting that when Wrenn v. D.C. is granted certiorari, it’s a guaranteed victory.
Again, remember, Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is getting legs, combine passage and signature of that bill, amended to put in the language Rep. Barry Loudermilk discussed with me on AAR’s Daily Defense last week, cap it off with a future SCOTUS win with Wrenn and the anti-gun nutjobs are another nail closer to being history.
On a side note, you can rest assured that the Gorsuch pick to fill Scalia’s open seat was a win for gun rights. Take that to the bank.
About Mark Walters
Mark Walters is the host of two nationally syndicated radio broadcasts, Armed American Radio and Armed American Radio's Daily Defense with Mark Walters. He is the Second Amendment Foundations 2015 Gun Rights Defender of the Year award recipient and co-author of two books, Lessons from Armed America with Kathy Jackson (Whitefeather Press) and Lessons from UnArmed America with Rob Pincus (Whitefeather Press)