- - Monday, September 4, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court in April, the court regained a majority of justices who support Americans’ right to bear arms. It is now more important than ever for the court to take up and hear pivotal Second Amendment cases that will protect our rights spelled out in the Constitution and which liberal activists have been trying to erode for decades.

With another vacancy on the Supreme Court possible within the next four years, there is a sense of immediacy for the court to take up Second Amendment issues like concealed carry reciprocity, which has gathered support in Congress and in state legislatures. The patchwork of concealed carry reciprocity laws vary from state to state, and while there are currently bills before both the House and Senate on national reciprocity, the Supreme Court is a critical voice that needs to weigh in.

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of individual Second Amendment rights by affirming an individual’s right to self-defense in the case of Heller v. District of Columbia. Nine years after the landmark Heller decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against the District’s restrictions on concealed carry permits. This decision, which came down on July 25, foreshadows that concealed carry might be back at the Supreme Court sooner rather than later and it is bound to be challenged by anti-gun activists eager to keep the status quo.

One of the District of Columbia’s provisions struck down by the recent decision was the requirement that citizens prove “good reason” for obtaining a concealed carry permit. This ridiculous burden was basically a de-facto ban, leaving it up to government bureaucrats to decide who has the right to protect themselves. Under this provision, even living in a high-crime area was not a good enough “reason” for having a permit. Striking down one of the most restrictive concealed carry laws in the country, an appeal could end up at the Supreme Court’s doorstep, asking for their ruling.

With the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch and his record of support for the Second Amendment, this is exactly the kind of momentum that is needed to make the right to concealed carry a reality for all Americans, no matter where they live. Justice Gorsuch’s support is crucial to any Second Amendment challenge, as his presence preserves the narrow 5-4 majority needed to protect our constitutional rights from overreach and encroachment.

Justice Gorsuch recently vocalized his dissent, along with Justice Clarence Thomas, when the court refused to take up an appeal of the ruling in Peruta v. California, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which maintained citizens of San Diego County must show a “special need” for obtaining a concealed carry permit. Blatantly a violation of Second Amendment rights, Justices Thomas and Gorsuch issued a statement saying, “For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous, but the framers made a clear choice: They reserved the right to bear arms for self-defense.” Clearly displeased that the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case, this statement demonstrates Justice Gorsuch is willing and ready to stand by the Constitution and the everyday citizens who want to defend themselves.

The Supreme Court should not shy away from any Second Amendment case, especially in the next few years. This is a crucial time frame that could determine the status of Second Amendment rights in this country for decades to come, and with a pro-Second Amendment majority on the bench, those who respect the Constitution should not pass up this opportunity to strengthen and protect one of America’s most sacred rights.

Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

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