In a landmark 2010 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that in addition to the federal government, states must also respect the public’s individual constitutional right to bear arms. Yet the high court has neglected to take any more major Second Amendment cases in the decade since that would have further clarified the scope of this ruling, leading conservative Justice Clarence Thomas to dub the Second Amendment a “disfavored right.” As a result, many states have found ways to work around Supreme Court precedent and drastically restrict the ability of law-abiding people to carry firearms to protect themselves.
Yet, this could all soon change.
That is, if the Supreme Court makes the most of a case currently on its docket. The justices heard oral arguments on Wednesday in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, a case that affords the court the opportunity to strike down state laws that are designed to, in practice, all but erase citizens’ constitutional right to bear arms outside the home. At question is New York’s process for granting concealed carry permits, which allow citizens to carry a firearm in public.
“The New York law at the center of the case … requires anyone who wants a license to carry a concealed handgun outside of the home to show ‘proper cause’ for the license,” SCOTUSBlog reports. “Courts in New York have defined ‘proper cause’ to require applicants to show a special need to defend themselves. For instance, a person who has been the target of recurrent physical threats likely would qualify. But a general desire to protect oneself or one’s property is not enough to obtain an unrestricted license to carry a concealed handgun.” (Emphasis mine.)
Similar laws are on the books in many other states such as California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Hawaii, per SCOTUSBlog. Essentially, they allow government officials to decide who “really needs” to be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights and who doesn’t. Even living in a high-crime area doesn’t suffice in New York. Many, including the plaintiffs suing New York in the case, who pass a background check and simply wish to exercise their rights are not fully allowed to do so merely because some government bureaucrat says so.
To state the obvious, that’s not how constitutional rights are supposed to work. We would never accept a regime that required arbitrary government permission to exercise free speech, for example.
These state laws deprive millions of their lawful ability to defend themselves. (Firearms are used in self-defense somewhere between 500,000 to 2 million times per year .) So, too, these laws disfavor those without the connections and power to lobby successfully for permit approval. In an interesting twist, a coalition of black attorneys filed a brief in this case arguing that the New York law leads to minorities being unfairly punished for peacefully exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“The incorporated Second Amendment affords the people ‘the right to keep and bear arms,’” they write. “New York’s licensing regime does the opposite. It deprives everyone of that right, only returning it to those select few who manage to first secure a firearm license from the police. As a result, each year, we represent hundreds of indigent people whom New York criminally charges for exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”
“For our clients, New York’s licensing regime renders the Second Amendment a legal fiction,” the attorneys conclude. “Worse, virtually all our clients whom New York prosecutes for exercising their Second Amendment right are Black or Hispanic. And that is no accident.”
Based on Wednesday’s arguments, it seems that at least some of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices understand the fundamental injustice at play here.
“Why isn’t it good enough to say, ‘I live in a violent area, and I want to defend myself’?” Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked. He said requiring subjective permission from a government official “seems inconsistent with an objective constitutional right.”
Kavanaugh is on to something. This case offers the Supreme Court, with its new conservative majority, the opportunity to do the right thing after years of inaction. The justices should issue a landmark ruling that stops states from enacting these kinds of constitutional-workaround policies and forces them to respect our Second Amendment rights. Until they do, the constitutional rights of millions will remain largely a “legal fiction.”
Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We just launched a new GiveSendGo page. We also have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!