November 04, 2021
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday began hearing arguments for an all-important case dealing with whether the Second Amendment protects the right of Americans to keep and bear arms outside the home.
While most Americans realize the word “bear” in the Second Amendment means “carry” and that the 2A doesn’t say anything about “only at home,” this seems like a no-brainer. But many states continue to severely restrict this enumerated right, forcing the coming showdown at the highest level.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v Bruen is the first Second Amendment case that the Supreme Court has considered in more than a decade. It gives the court a chance to once and for all affirm the right to bear arms in public for self-defense, as millions of Americans safely do every day in nearly every state in the country.
The case focuses on New York’s refusal to grant concealed carry permits to law-abiding citizens without them having to show some kind of “proper cause” to qualify. The NYSRPA argues that the states’ refusal to grant carry permits simply on the basis of self-defense violates the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens there.
In its petition to the court, the association backed up that premise thusly. “Perhaps the single most important unresolved Second Amendment question after this Court’s landmark decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago is whether the Second Amendment secures the individual right to bear arms for self-defense where confrontations often occur: outside the home,” the group wrote in its petition to the court. “The text, history and tradition of the Second Amendment and this Court’s binding precedents compel the conclusion that the Second Amendment does indeed secure that right.”
It continues: “There is no Second Amendment issue more pressing than whether the fundamental, individual right to self-defense is confined to the home. While the vast majority of states have correctly affirmed the individual’s right to decide for him or herself whether to carry a handgun for self-defense, a minority of jurisdictions seem determined to control the very people and rights that the Second Amendment promises ‘shall not be infringed.’”
The petition then concludes: “Only this Court has the power to restore proper rigor to Second Amendment analysis, and the need is even greater now than it was a decade ago in Heller. The Court should grant certiorari to resolve this persistent circuit split and restore to all of ‘the people’ protected by the Second Amendment the fundamental and individual right that it guarantees.”
Dozens of organizations have filed amicus briefs in support of the plaintiff’s position. Among them are 176 members of the U.S. House of Representative, 25 U.S. Senators, a group made up of more than half of the state attorneys general in the nation and, of course, the National Rifle Association.
Of course, the Biden Administration has also weighed in—and predictably on the wrong side of the matter.
“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, but that right is not absolute,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote in its brief in support of New York’s punitive restrictions. “For centuries, legislatures in England, the colonies, and the States have protected public safety by adopting reasonable regulations governing who may possess weapons, which weapons they may possess, where and when weapons may be carried, and how they may be manufactured, sold and stored.”
You can listen to live oral arguments here.
We’ll keep you posted as this important courtroom drama continues to unfold.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.