The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not “a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U. S. __ (2022)
Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, provides yet another “win” for the Constitution. You can read it here, in all its 135 pages.
The state of New York requires the showing of extraordinary cause, more than those required by most common situations before it will issue a concealed carry permit to carry a pistol or revolver for self-defense or other reasons. Consequently, New York rarely grants such permits to any of its residents, even in cases of vital need. In stark contrast to most states, who maintain “shall issue” or “constitutional carry” (no permit required) policies, the constitutional rights of New Yorkers are strongly and blatantly curtailed. Other similar states affected by this ruling include California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
Why Does this Matter:
As we stated here yesterday concerning funding of private, sectarian schools by a state, even if you do not care about the subject matter (private, religious schools, free speech, concealed carry of pistols), you cannot help but applaud the fact that the Supreme Court is recognizing and honoring the Constitution in a way that says – this document matters.
In his opinion, Justice Thomas thoroughly outlines the history of concealed carry laws and restrictions as they relate to the Constitution and it is worth the read if you like reading legal opinions.
But, if you’d rather read the summary, this is it:
The Second Amendment is no less important than the other amendments found in the Constitution. The rights it protects merit just as much respect and dignity as those protected the other amendments in the Bill of Rights.
Plain and simple.
The Constitution matters. The Bill of Rights matters. Our rights matter. A state cannot legally take or infringe on those rights willy-nilly without a compelling governmental interest, and then only after strictly scrutinizing the reasons and the rights being infringed upon.
Justice Thomas’ opinion ended on this very true statement:
New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U. S. __ (2022)