American Rifleman - September 2017 - 16

political report

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

G

By Chris W. Cox
NRA-ILA
Executive Director

YOUR MEMBERSHIP
DUES ARE NOT
ENOUGH.
If you want to DEFEND your
right to own and carry a
firearm ...

If your FREEDOM to hunt and
shoot is important to you ...
Then you need to SUPPORT
the NRA Institute for
Legislative Action.
We are the only arm of
NRA specifically charged
with defending your
Second Amendment
freedoms on Capitol Hill,
and in state legislatures and
courtrooms across America.
Visit nraila.org/donate
to support NRA-ILA today!

NRA-ILA: (800) 392-8683
NRA-ILA website: nraila.org
For related articles, go to
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16

un 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 the Right to Carry.
The Peruta case began 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-protected
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 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-protected 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 9th Circuit held
that San Diego's enforcement of California's
discretionary permitting scheme violated the
Second Amendment. In 2016, however, a
larger panel of 9th Circuit judges came to the
opposite conclusion. The 9th 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-protected
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 9th 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
September 2017

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 a 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' 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
9th Circuit's ruling in Peruta-Flanagan 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, like 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.

american rifleman


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - September 2017

Contents
American Rifleman - September 2017 - CW1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - CW2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Cover1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Cover2
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 1
American Rifleman - September 2017 - Contents
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 3
American Rifleman - September 2017 - 4
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - C1
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - MW1
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - S1
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - SW1
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American Rifleman - September 2017 - W1
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