The Supreme Court’s 2007 decision of DC vs Heller recognized that the Second Amendment established a right to bear arms in self-defense. But in the years since, the high court has hardly taken any gun rights cases further fleshing out this precedent, allowing restrictions to stand.
In a seismic 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a New York scheme that heavily restricted citizens’ right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.
The New York policy in question was its “may issue” approach to concealed carry permit applications, which allow citizens to carry a concealed pistol on their person for self-defense. Many states have a permitting process—others have “constitutional carry”—but New York’s was particularly extreme. Not only did it require a basic background check and gun safety certification like many states do, it allowed government officials to deny the application unless the applicant could “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”
Living in a high-crime area or generally wanting to exercise your right to defend yourself wasn’t good enough. The ability to exercise your right to bear arms was strictly defined by the discretion of the government agents assigned to review your application. This was essentially a way the state worked around the Second Amendment to heavily limit the ability to bear arms.
Justice Clarence Thomas laid out the court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. In his opinion he strikes down the New York scheme and affirms that “the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home” without needing to accommodate the subjective whims of a government bureaucrat.
“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” Justice Thomas writes. “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.”
“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms,” the majority opinion concludes.
The right to life is an inherent human right, and the right to defend your own life from would-be violence is inherent to that right. This is exactly what the Second Amendment was meant to enshrine. It is established in the United States that our Rights are given to us by God, not man. Man’s job is simply to protect those rights – not to define the usage and applicability of our rights. By definition, it can not be a God Given Right, if it can be restricted by man. If we have a right to life then that applies to all, if we have a right to bear arms then that applies to all, if we have a right to free speech then that applies to all.
All to often those charged with protecting our rights work to control those that have those rights applicable to them. Politicians and their agents call them regulations, restrictions, or simply rules to prevent the exercise of freedoms in order to exert control over their “subjects.” If you need help protecting your rights or fighting back when your rights are violated give Winslow Law a call at 843-357-9301.