The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms. It has been more than ten years since District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) answered important questions about the Second Amendment. The reluctance of the Supreme Court to hear cases during the last decade have caused an undermining of the two decisions referred to above and thus bringing more cases against the Second Amendment.
According to Amy Swearer at The Heritage Foundation, the Supreme Court has been “treating the Second Amendment as a second-class right” and deeming it “unworthy of consistent legal review.” Her example was New York State Rifle & Pistol v. City of New York where anticipation was dashed by the Supreme Court declared the case moot after a move by New York. However, the Supreme Court agreed last week to hear New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Corlett, and this case “could have much broader implications for the future of strict gun control than its mooted predecessor.” Swearer stated that there are three important things for us to know about the latter case.
1. This case is about the right to carry firearms in public.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett provides the Supreme Court with the opportunity to address a very important question it so far has declined to answer: When the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, does it mean a right to bear a handgun in public for purposes of self-defense? …
2. “Good cause” and “may issue” requirements have racist roots.
For the first 70 or so years after the Constitution was ratified, Americans undeniably maintained a general right to bear arms in public, with perhaps some state authority to regulate the mode of carry….
The reality is that today’s “good cause” requirements may not be overtly racist, but in practice they serve to disproportionately exclude people of color from the ability to protect themselves in public with firearms. Constitutional implications aside, this makes discretionary licensing poor public policy.
Who ends up getting concealed carry permits in the most restrictive “good cause” jurisdictions? Overwhelmingly, the permits go to wealthy white men – especially those who are well connected to whatever public official happens to have sole discretion over granting permit applications….
3. Public carry will not turn us into the “Wild West.”
Many gun control advocates insist that if the Supreme Court strikes down “good cause” requirements then the nation will be turned into a “Wild West” of gun violence.
In other words, the Second Amendment shouldn’t protect a right of ordinary citizens to bear arms in their own defense, because ordinary citizens largely are incapable of acting in a reasonable manner when armed in public.
Decades of plain data show just the opposite….
It turns out that ordinary, law-abiding citizens absolutely can be trusted to “bear” arms in public, just like the plain text of the Constitution envisions.
Swearer and I hope that the Supreme Court will decide in favor of full constitutional rights to tens of millions of Americans.