Supreme Court – let NJ residents enjoy 2A

US Supreme CourtUntil the Supreme Court ruled in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects the right to armed self-defense, many lower courts gave this important provision short shrift. Lacking guidance from above, they linked the right to some undefined militia service, effectively reading it out of the Constitution.

Six years later, they’re at it again.

While Heller clarified that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, the ruling left many questions about the scope of that right unanswered. Since then, several courts have made clear that they plan to take only as much from Heller as they absolutely have to.

Since Heller struck down D.C.’s ban on functional firearms in the home, recalcitrant courts pretend that the Second Amendment is limited to the right to keep arms and that legislatures can for very little (or no) reason to ignore the right to bearthem outside the home.

Perhaps the most egregious example is the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which last year upheld New Jersey’s “may-issue” handgun law. This law says that an individual may be granted a carry license—read: may be permitted to exercise her Second Amendment rights—only if she proves an urgent need to do so to the satisfaction of a law enforcement officer.

In order to show this need, one must prove that there are specific, immediate threats to one’s safety that can’t be avoided in any way other than by possessing a handgun. If someone can actually persuade the local official—who has total discretion to accept or deny the claim—then she gets a license for two years, when the gun owner must repeat the entire discretionary process (proving an imminent threat, etc.) to renew the permit.

The effect of this regulatory regime is that virtually nobody in New Jersey can use a handgun to defend themselves outside their home. The state law inverts how fundamental rights are supposed to work—the government must justify restrictions, but the right-holder need not explain the exercise of her rights—and the Third Circuit saw no problem with that.

The court applied a highly deferential review far from the heightened scrutiny normally due an individual right enshrined in the Bill of Rights. It assumed the legislature’s good faith without requiring the state to show any evidence that a restrictive-carry regime lowers the rate of gun crime. It also excused what constitutional infringements the law may cause because it was passed before Heller came down—and so the legislature’s ignorance of the Second Amendment insulates it from legal challenge.

The Third Circuit’s opinion makes clear that it, like too many other courts, is “willfully confused” about the right to keep and bear arms as recognized in Heller and the proper judicial methodology to apply when evaluating such cases.

This is an excellent case for the Supreme Court to take up to begin clarifying many of the unanswered questions involving the Second Amendment—such as to what extent it extends beyond the home and whether it can be conditioned on a showing of need. The Court has been hesitant to flesh out the contours of the Second Amendment, which has led to errant rulings that leave the right to bear arms hollow.

If the Supreme Court’s declaration 2010’s McDonald v. City of Chicago that “the Second Amendment should [not] be singled out for special—and specially unfavorable—treatment,” is to have any weight, the Court must not neglect the persistent confusion regarding that constitutional provision as it did in the decades before Heller. Unless the justices intend the Second Amendment to lapse back into second-class status, they need to set wayward courts straight. Reviewing the Third Circuit’s jurisprudential miscarriage would be a great way to demonstrate their commitment to the Second Amendment’s normalcy.

Whatever analytical approach the Supreme Court ultimately uses in defining the scope of the Second Amendment, the time has come to fill in the picture that the Court outlined in Heller, and to bring harmony to the cacophony below.

Article originally published at: http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/second-amendment-case-supreme-court-must-take

Purchasing a Firearm for Your Home

Purchasing a gun is something that more and more Americans are doing. There are a lot of people that believe that they are safer when they have a gun that they know that they are going to be able to use in case they find it necessary. Whether they are out hunting or defending their home, many people use their household firearm on a fairly consistent basis. If you are considering getting a firearm, you should be sure that you are going through all of the right processes to purchase your firearm legally.

Research the Laws in Your Area

There are a lot of people that do not understand that laws for purchasing guns differ between states. Depending on the state that you are living in, you will have very specific laws that you need to abide by to be able to purchase a firearm. Take the time to do your research ahead of time to ensure that you are not breaking any laws as you are doing your shopping. Some states may require you to wait a couple of days to pick up your guns, while other states will require you to provide them with extensive details of your history.

If you are asked for a background check, you should be sure that you realize this is optional. Background check software may be a part of the purchasing process, but you are not legally required to submit to the background check. If someone wants to perform a background check with their background check software, you can certainly submit.

Learn to Use Your Gun

Once you have legally obtained your firearm, make sure that you know how you are going to use it. There are many people that do not realize that many people die because they misuse firearms. You should be sure that you know how you are going to use and store your firearm to ensure that there are not any accidents. Take the time to teach everyone in your home how to come into contact with the gun and use it safely. By teaching everyone how to use and store the guns safely, you can prevent dangerous accidents from happening.

When you are learning about gun safety, you should be sure that you are getting the licenses that you need to use your gun when you want to use it. It is important that all of the information that you learn is going to stick with you. Make sure that you remember what you learn in your classes so that you do not put anyone in your home at risk.

Although purchasing a firearm is your right, as an American citizen, it is important that you go about the process wisely. This way, you can be sure that the gun is something that has a positive effect in your life rather than a negative effect. Do not be afraid to purchase a gun, and take the process seriously. When you do your research and buy a gun the right way, it can serve its purpose in your home without any other problems.

Army veteran denied gun due to 42-year-old crime

Texas resident Ron Kelly honorably served his country in the U.S. Army for 20 years, where he fired cannons, fully automatic machine guns and held a top secret security clearance.  But this month, the government told the Army veteran to take a hike after applying for a gun license, citing a minor drug conviction when he was in high school – 42 years ago.

Ashamed of his country’s hard-lined (and hard-headed) destruction of the Constitution and his right to keep and bear arms, the government has put Mr. Kelly (59) in the same boat as violent criminals, rapists, murders and terrorists.

Kelly was charged with possession of a small bag of marijuana when he was 17-years old.  As a first time offender, he was sentenced to 1-year probation.  Two years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent the next 20 years training and fighting with extremely deadly weapons.  Now, his government won’t trust him with a 22-caliber rifle, the weapon Kelly intended to buy.

Kelly vows not to give up his constitutional right to keep and bear arms, a tenant that Mr. Kelly, for 20 years, thought he was fighting for.