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

Monday, August 19, 2019

Florida Alert! "Assault Weapons" Ban Amendment Bans ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

The so-called "assault weapons" ban that is proposed for a constitutional amendment to be on the 2020 Election Ballot bans the possession of: “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun CAPABLE of holding more than ten (10) rounds ...

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

There are some odd dynamics in international relations. Countries in which people are not free serve on the UN Human Rights Council. Political considerations guide every action.  Of course, the NRA is a single-issue organization so ...

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

NRA member Darrell Kennedy was on vacation with his family at Yellowstone National Park earlier this month when an anti-gun vacationer snapped a photo of his holstered firearm and tweeted out a hate message. “Sat ...

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

Joe Biden has been out on the primary campaign trail working hard. Maybe a little too hard. “We got to let them know who we are,” he recently told a crowd of supporters at the Iowa State ...

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

The Christian Science Monitor describes itself as “an independent international news organization” that wants to “help you to see news events as starting points for constructive conversations.” Its editorial board recently published an article, A seed for society’s ...

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

A smart person learns from his mistakes. An even smarter person learns from the mistakes of others.  Beto O’Rourke, an unemployed Texan running for president, must not be too smart.           

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

Bill and Hillary Clinton just don’t draw like they used to. Shunned by much of his own party, (described by one Vanity Fair commentator as “2020’s bubonic plague”) the former president has been relegated to providing lazy ...

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Monday, June 17, 2019

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Governor Greg Abbott has now signed all of the NRA-supported legislation which the Texas Legislature sent him during the 2019 session.

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

In the wake of the recent two criminal mass attacks, a number of gun control proposals have begun to circulate in our nation’s capital. None of these proposals would have prevented the recent tragedies, but they all ...

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

Thursday, August 15, 2019

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

On Monday, August 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent AB 1254 to the suspense file and rescheduled AB 1669 to be heard next Monday, August 19. On Wednesday, August 14, the Assembly Appropriations Committee sent SB 172 ...

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.