In late April, the Supreme Court announced it would take an important gun case, something they have not done for 11 years.
The case will review a New York law that severely restricts the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry a gun outside of their homes. The case is New York Rifle and Pistol Association vs Corlett.
Like many Eastern states, New York nominally allows gun ownership, but ties the process up in such clever paperwork and delay, that in actuality, severely limits the exercise of Constitutional rights.
The case could influence outcomes in more than seven other states that severely restrict the right to carry. Not surprisingly, they are all Democrat-dominated states that suppress Constitutional rights. They are California, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
This is certainly one of these issues where the political fault lines are clear. Republicans tend to favor the full exercise of Constitutional rights, while Democrat states seek to deny them.
If indeed the right to keep and bear arms is protected under the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, then it is difficult to see how these states can deny the exercise of these rights. You cannot really exercise your rights of self-protection using a firearm, without the ability to bear them. A gun locked up at home, or secured at an authorized gun club, is of no help when it comes to self-protection.
Writer Mark Moritz makes the point cogently with a question. What is the first rule of gunfighting? The answer, have a gun!
That may be equally true if confronted by a knife, club, or any other deadly weapon.
Yes, having a gun in possession is necessary to win a fight with a dangerous criminal and thus bearing arms is arguably more important than “keeping” or owning, in the words of the 2nd Amendment. For example, if you are bearing a gun that does not belong to you, you have the ability to defend yourself.
If you cannot bear an arm that does belong to you, what good does the ownership bring?
If you think of it in free speech terms, it is sort of like saying, you are free to exercise your right to free speech at home under certain conditions, but speaking in public is prohibited. That would not be much of a right to free speech, would it?
So, not only is the Constitutional right of ownership of a firearm completed with bearing the thing, only through the bearing is the right exercised in a way intended, that is to allow for the fundamental right of self-protection.
The right of a person to protect himself, his family, and his property, was long recognized in law as a natural right, even before the writing of the Constitution. In a very real sense, the Constitution does not provide a right, it recognizes the pre-existing right.
The timing of the case is interesting. Conservatives have continually been disappointed by appointees to the Court. Chief Justice Roberts is only the latest example.
With the Trump appointees on the bench, there is a supposedly 6-3 Conservative majority.
Hence, this case comes along before the Democrats can try their court-packing scheme. That would seem to put the odds more favorable to a better outcome.
It will also be a key case to see if Trump appointees to the court are as squishy philosophically as some of their predecessors. If so, the whole process of judicial selection will need a makeover.