Nate Jackson / June 24, 2022

A BIG 2A Win in Gun-Grabbing New York

Clarence Thomas, on his birthday, delivered a present to us all by defending our Second Amendment rights.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” —Amendment II of the U.S. Constitution

The Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling yesterday that the Second Amendment still means what it says, and it still applies — via the operative word “bear” — even when you walk out the door of your home. It’s one of the most important rulings on our First Civil Right in the Court’s history. Contrary to false media claims, it did not “expand” gun rights; it upheld existing gun rights by striking down unconstitutional restrictions on those rights.

Lo and behold, the Senate then passed legislation last night infringing on that and other rights. Such is the always raging battle for Liberty.

At issue before the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen was New York’s “may issue” concealed carry permit regime, under which authorities could deny an application for a permit simply because they didn’t think the applicant showed sufficient cause. Instead, should New York follow the lead of 43 other states with “shall issue” permits?

Yes, the Court concluded, which will obviously have implications not only in New York but in California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia as well. A combined one-quarter of Americans live under such Second Amendment-restricting regimes.

Justice Clarence Thomas authored the ruling — issued on his birthday, no less — and he even worked in his oft-repeated statement: “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.’”

After the Court’s 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling held that the Second Amendment has always been an individual right, and after its 2010 McDonald v. City of Chicago decision held that the Fourteenth Amendment means it “is fully applicable to the States,” many states and cities nonetheless continued to chip away wherever they thought they could get away with it. Lower-court judges too often let them.

This included restrictions on carrying guns outside of your own home. Yet, as Thomas explained, “To confine the right to ‘bear’ arms to the home would nullify half of the Second Amendment’s operative protections.”

Thomas wrote that New York’s restrictions violate the Second Amendment and that “authorities must issue concealed-carry licenses whenever applicants satisfy certain threshold requirements, without granting licensing officials discretion to deny licenses based on a perceived lack of need or suitability.”

“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” the Court ruled. “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.”

Ultimately, he concluded: “The Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

Thomas also took care to clarify some of the loose ends from earlier cases. “Since Heller and McDonald,” he wrote, “the Courts of Appeals have developed a ‘two-step’ framework for analyzing Second Amendment challenges that combines history with means-end scrutiny. The Court rejects that two-part approach as having one step too many.” In other words, lower courts must stop muddying the waters.

Again, the Second Amendment means what it says. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, though leftists continue stubbornly insisting just the opposite — that somehow it’s the only one of the Bill of Rights that affirms rights for the government instead of individuals, or that governments can impose whatever restrictions can be justified with the all-purpose excuse of “saving lives.”

To that point, Justice Stephen Breyer spent much of his dissent arguing that the ends justify the means for gun control because, for example, “In 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms.” No, those people were killed by other people, and that happens to be a great reason why many Americans want to carry a firearm outside the home.

“This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” Joe Biden declared. “I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line.” His sidekick Kamala Harris reiterated the “common sense and the Constitution” canard.

We rate their claims false.

The same goes for New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who rushed to the podium to decry a ruling she says is “frightful in its scope.” She called a special legislative session to restrict guns in a long list of “sensitive locations.” She insisted, “We are not powerless to respond to this.”

The Second Amendment says otherwise.

She also snidely huffed: “I would like to point out to the Supreme Court justices that the only weapons at that time were muskets. I’m prepared to go back to muskets.” We look forward to seeing her security detail with muskets, and we expect she’s also ready to go back to quills and parchment just to be consistent.

Speaking of gun legislation, as we mentioned above, the Senate passed its compromise bill last night, with 15 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats. The House quickly took up the legislation and passed it this morning, and Biden promises to sign it pronto. There’s little doubt this was all timed to coincide with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

There’s also little doubt it won’t do much to reduce the number of murders. In fact, argues gun researcher John Lott, it may end up increasing suicides. “Absent such [red flag] laws, a person contemplating suicide might speak to a friend or family member and be dissuaded from that tragic course of action,” he says. “With these laws in place, individuals may fear that confiding in someone will result in a report to the authorities, possibly leading to the loss of their ability to defend themselves or their loved ones.” He added that his own past research “found these laws slightly increase suicide rates.”

In short, even the most well-meaning attempts at regulating gun rights either fail to actually save lives or end up costing lives. And when we say “well-meaning,” we’re giving a huge benefit of the doubt because normal Americans who are misinformed by the media often don’t fully understand the implications of gun control. On the other hand, tyrannical politicians who want only to disarm their subjects know exactly what they’re doing.

(Updated.)

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