Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

U.S. Supreme Court Disappoints on Right-to-Carry, but Justice Gorsuch Shines

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Disappoints on Right-to-Carry, but Justice Gorsuch Shines

Gun owners were justifiably disappointed June 26, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Peruta v. California. The denial was a setback in NRA’s efforts to secure judicial recognition that the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms outside the home. For now, misguided state and local governments will continue to deny their residents’ Right-to-Carry.

The Peruta case began back in October 2009, when plaintiff Edward Peruta filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California arguing that San Diego County Sheriff William Gore violated his Second Amendment rights. Under California’s permitting law, Gore had wide discretion to deny carry permits to applicants unless they demonstrated “good cause” for obtaining it. A desire to exercise the Second Amendment right to self-defense did not meet the sheriff’s definition of “good cause.”

At the outset, a key argument for the defense held that San Diego’s interpretation of California’s permit law did not extinguish Peruta’s Second Amendment right, as California did not prohibit individuals from openly carrying an unloaded handgun outside the home. However, in 2011, California enacted a law prohibiting the open carry of handguns.

In 2014, in a tremendously well-reasoned opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that San Diego’s enforcement of California’s discretionary permitting scheme violated the Second Amendment. In 2016, however, a larger panel of Ninth Circuit judges came to the opposite conclusion. The Ninth Circuit refused to take California’s prohibition on open carry into account, ruling only that “the Second Amendment does not protect, in any degree, the carrying of concealed firearms.”

However unfortunate, the current cloud over our Second Amendment rights does have a silver lining. Peruta’s fate confirmed that the newest member of the Supreme Court has a firm commitment to an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

Coinciding with the Court’s decision to reject Peruta, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a blistering dissent from the court’s denial.  He was joined by the newest member of the Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Thomas admonished the Ninth Circuit’s failure to address California’s entire carry scheme as “indefensible.” Joined by Gorsuch, he went on to explain that the Supreme Court has “already suggested that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms in public in some fashion.”

Moreover, Thomas addressed the Court’s recent substandard treatment of the Second Amendment, calling this development “a distressing trend” and “inexcusable.”

Gorsuch’s actions represent a major victory for gun owners and reminder of how important elections truly are. Following the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, gun owners faced the prospect of a Court that would pervert the Second Amendment to eliminate its protections for our individual right to keep and bear arms. But gun owners rose to the challenge, putting pressure on their Senators to reject Barack Obama’s anti-gun nominee, Merrick Garland. Illustrating the importance gun rights supporters played in this battle, the New York Times editorial page whined, “The Senate Defers to the N.R.A.”

Gun rights supporters went on to make the Court a pivotal issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, one that helped put Donald Trump in the White House. And when several senators threatened to block any Trump Court pick, NRA stood by the president’s nominee.

Gorsuch’s participation in Thomas’s forceful dissent is tangible evidence that he respects the Second Amendment and the individual right it guarantees.

Moreover, Peruta was not the last chance gun owners will have to vindicate our Right-to-Carry before the Court. A response to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in PerutaFlanagan v. Becerra – challenges California’s open carry prohibition. And Grace v. District of Columbia is yet another case that may have a critical bearing on our Right-to-Carry in public by challenging the District’s highly restrictive permit regime.  In addition to those current cases, more lawsuits are on the way.

Gun owners, just as Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, are right to be disappointed in the Court’s recent treatment of the Second Amendment.  What we should not do is become discouraged. Gun rights supporters would do well to recall the decades of scholarship, activism, and litigation that led to our victories in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. As long as Second Amendment supporters are resolute in our purpose and work to ensure the appointment of judges and justices that respect our rights, the Second Amendment will once again win at the highest court.

Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

On Friday, November 22nd, the Kentucky state Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider so called “red-flag laws.” Though no legislation has been introduced, such laws usually allow for Second Amendment rights to be suspended ...

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

When the Democrats who are seeking their party’s nomination to run against Donald Trump in 2020 start talking about guns, anyone who supports our right to keep and bear arms knows to be concerned. Of ...

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

A law designed to protect the firearm industry from frivolous litigation is now in jeopardy thanks to inaction by the U.S. Supreme Court, which earlier this month passed on a petition to review a case ...

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

As anti-gun as the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have exposed themselves to be, much of the field still gives lip-service to the Second Amendment and the Constitution. Take for instance Joe Biden. The leading candidate’s campaign has said that ...

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

News  

Monday, November 11, 2019

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke abandoned his run for President last week, once again leaving a void for the most strident anti-gun candidate seeking the Democrat nomination. Even before declaring his candidacy for President, ...

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

News  

Gun Laws  

Monday, November 11, 2019

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Tremp In recent weeks, gun owners have been given two prime examples of just how important strong firearms preemption laws are to the vibrant exercise of Second Amendment rights. On October ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Trading Freedom for Safety

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Trading Freedom for Safety

“[N]othing is more important than ensuring that our fellow students feel safe,” explained the editors of The Daily Northwestern, the campus newspaper at Northwestern University. The statement was part of a lengthy apology published by the editors, ...

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Friday, June 14, 2019

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Ignoring the constitutional rights of law-abiding Nevadans, on June 14th, Governor Steve Sisolak signed omnibus anti-gun Assembly Bill 291 into law.  Your NRA would like to thank the many lawmakers who stood with our members and ...

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

Photo Courtesy of Silencer Shop On October 28th, the National Hearing Conservation Association sent its new position paper on firearms suppressors to the American Suppressor Association. The paper, in short, recognizes the important role that ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.