September 22, 2021
By Mark Chesnut
Apparently, all the past rhetoric from President Joe Biden talking about how he “supports the Second Amendment” doesn’t apply outside the home.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court for the upcoming case in which plaintiffs argue that New York’s strict concealed carry requirements infringe on their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And, of course, the Biden administration weighed in 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.”
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen is the first Second Amendment case that the Supreme Court will have considered in more than a decade and will give the court a chance to once and for all to affirm the right to bear arms in public for self-defense, as millions of Americans do every day.
The case revolves around 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 contends 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 wrote: “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 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.”
However, the Biden administration vehemently disagrees, as they stated in the recently filed amicus brief.
“New York’s proper-cause requirement is likewise constitutional,” the DOJ brief stated. “Throughout the Nation’s history, legislatures have adopted regulations to address the distinctive risks posed by the public carrying of concealed or concealable arms. New York’s law—which is itself a century-old—fits squarely within that long tradition. And even if that tradition left any doubt, New York’s proper-cause requirement would also satisfy intermediate scrutiny. It serves public-safety interests of the highest order. It applies only to the carrying of arms in public. It covers handguns, but not most rifles and shotguns. And instead of prohibiting the carrying of handguns entirely, it allows those who need to carry them for self-defense to do so.”
The fact that nearly every state in the nation now has constitutional carry or a shall-issue concealed carry permit system shows just how outdated New York’s scheme is. The NYSRPA is asking the court to rule the system unconstitutional, giving law-abiding New Yorkers the same opportunity to defend themselves outside the home as citizens in most of the rest of the country have.
“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 original lawsuit stated. “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.”
The Supreme Court has set Nov. 3 as the start date to begin considering the case.
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 more than 20 years.