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
NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

News  

Friday, August 30, 2019

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

After decades of NASCAR drivers literally turning left for hours every race day (road course races excluded, of course), the governing body appears to be taking a figurative left turn, politically. K-Var, a retailer in outdoor and ...

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Declares NRA a “Domestic Terrorist Organization”

News  

Sunday, September 8, 2019

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Declares NRA a “Domestic Terrorist Organization”

On September 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution, “declaring that the National Rifle Association is a domestic terrorist organization and urging other cities, states, and the federal government to do the same.”The resolution was ...

California: Anti-Gun Bills Sent to Governor

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

California: Anti-Gun Bills Sent to Governor

Earlier this week, the California Legislature cast final votes on AB 12, AB 61, AB 879, AB 1254, AB 1297, and AB 1669, which will now move to Governor Newsom's desk for his consideration.  

“Pro-gun” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Turns on Second Amendment Supporters, Sides With Anti-Gun Lobby

News  

Sunday, September 8, 2019

“Pro-gun” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Turns on Second Amendment Supporters, Sides With Anti-Gun Lobby

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick uses his political website to claim he is “leading the fight for life and liberty in Texas, including … standing up for the Second Amendment.” He also proudly notes his prior NRA endorsement. But ...

News  

Friday, September 13, 2019

NRA Statement on Texas Governor's Safety Action Report

The National Rifle Association released the following statement on Friday regarding Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's Texas Safety Action Report:   

California Mayor to Tax Law-abiding Gun Owners for the Actions of Criminals

News  

Friday, August 30, 2019

California Mayor to Tax Law-abiding Gun Owners for the Actions of Criminals

This week, San Jose, Calif. Mayor Sam Liccardo took to the pages of the Washington Post to tout a plan to require law-abiding gun owners in his city to purchase firearms insurance. Under the Liccardo proposal, firearms owners ...

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Florida Alert! Are You Ready For Gun Registration?

A Constitutional Amendment calling for an "assault weapons" ban is being proposed for the ballot in 2020.  The definition of "assault weapon," in the amendment, includes ALL semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.  If the amendment goes on the ballot ...

Groovy: Former NY Times Editor Wants to Return to 1960 Gun Laws

News  

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Groovy: Former NY Times Editor Wants to Return to 1960 Gun Laws

Proving once again that ignorance is no bar to publication in the U.S. legacy press, former executive editor of the New York Times Howell Raines has offered his inane take on the current gun control ...

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.

News  

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The 1994 Clinton Crime Bill's Firearm Provisions

President Clinton signed the 1994 federal Crime Bill into law on Sept. 13, 1994, including the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made it a federal crime for a private individual ...

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.