There is an old saying that a definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time.
In 2008 the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling on the Second Amendment which held that it guarantees the individual right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense.
The High Court qualified its decision by saying:
“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited … the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.”
If that wasn’t clear enough for some folks, Justice Scalia wrote in the majority opinion:
“[A] right to carry arms openly: ‘This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.'”
Despite the clear language in the decision, the two largest so called gun-rights groups (the NRA and SAF) have led one charge after another in the Federal courts arguing that the Supreme Court really didn’t mean what it said about Open Carry being the right guaranteed by the Constitution and that concealed carry can be banned.
Right alongside the NRA have been hundreds of convicted criminals bringing parallel appeals arguing the same thing in attempts to overturn their criminal convictions for carrying concealed weapons in public. In every Federal and State court, these criminals have lost their appeals. The judges in those cases cite the quotes above and it is case closed.
Worse, not only do their lawsuits seek to carry handguns concealed, they argue that the government can require permits to carry a firearm in public, regardless of whether the firearm is carried openly or concealed.
Back during the oral arguments in that landmark case, District of Columbia v. Heller, the attorney for Dick Heller (Alan Gura) was encouraged by the Court to challenge the permit requirement for having a firearm in the home. Mr. Gura refused. Since the permit requirement was not challenged, the Supreme Court noted this and said it was not deciding whether or not a permit is required.
No other provision of the Bill of Rights requires that an individual first have a government issued permission slip before he can exercise his rights such as freedom of speech and religion or need a permit to be entitled to their protections such as the warrant requirement, the right against self-incrimination, etc.
And so, should it come as any surprise to anyone that today the US Supreme Court turned down yet another concealed carry appeal, this time out of New Jersey? An appeal which argued that the Supreme Court really did not mean what it said about Open Carry being the right guaranteed by the Constitution and that concealed carry can be banned.
There are a few who point out that New Jersey handgun carry permits allow handguns to be carried openly or concealed. A permit which allows for concealed carry is still a concealed carry permit and moreover, it is a government issued permission slip required to exercise a fundamental, enumerated individual right to openly carry a handgun for the purpose of self-defense.
There is only one lawsuit which argues that the Supreme Court meant exactly what it said about Open Carry being the right guaranteed by the Constitution and which argues that the government cannot require a permission slip to exercise one’s Second Amendment Right – That lawsuit is Nichols v. Brown brought by Charles Nichols, President of California Right To Carry which seeks to overturn California’s 1967 ban on openly carrying loaded firearms in public as well as the two recently enacted bans on openly carrying unloaded firearms in public.
Mr. Nichols case now heads to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The district court judge ruled in favor of Attorney General Harris concluding that there is no Second Amendment right, anywhere in the state, outside the interior of one’s home, not even on one’s own private residential property. The district court judge also concluded that firearms fall outside Fourth Amendment protections even in the curtilage of one’s home, a place the Supreme Court has always held is subject to the same Fourth Amendment protections as is the interior of one’s home.
Should Mr. Nichols’ case go on appeal to the US Supreme Court, the Court will have an opportunity to decide whether or not it really meant what it said about Open Carry being the right guaranteed by the Constitution and that concealed carry can be banned.