Monday, April 26, 2021


The SCOTUS today announced that it will take a major Second Amendment case. The case comes to the SCOTUS from New York, in the 2nd Circuit. New York--like eight other Blue states--requires a gun owner to provide what the state regards as a "proper cause" for wanting to "bear arms" outside his home. The reality is that, unless you're politically connected, it becomes extremely difficult to carry a firearm in any of those states. In the case at hand, New York was denying concealed carry permits to persons who said they wanted to bear a firearm for "self defense"--a pretty traditional reason.

Thus, the issue is pretty straightforward. Can a state demand a reason why a person wishes to exercise a constitutional right: not only to "keep" a firearm (in your residence) but to "bear" it. Next up--First Amendment? Why do you want to express a viewpoint that the government regards as not "proper?"

Now, while this case is, on its face, fairly narrow, it's also possible that the SCOTUS could address related issues that go beyond the actual holding. Such issues might include the extent to which states may regulate the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms more generally. For example, other states than those most directly affected by this case have various laws in place that make gun ownership--let alone bearing a firearm--difficult or somewhat expensive. These measures go beyond such relatively traditional measures such as a ban on felons owning firearms. As a result, this case is raising hopes and apprehensions on both sides of the issue.

Thus, while the terms of the grant of certiorari are very limited, that won't prevent justices from voicing their views and presenting arguments that could sway lower courts on related issues:

"The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the State's denial of petitioners' applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment," the court said in an order.

Fox has a pretty lucid account of this case, despite the somewhat misleading headline:

Supreme Court to hear major gun rights appeal over carrying concealed handguns in public

Supreme Court agrees to hear what could be the biggest gun rights case in more than a decade

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a major gun rights case over whether ordinary citizens can be legally prohibited from carrying concealed handguns for self-defense outside their homes.

Don't you luv that phrase: "ordinary citizens"?


The case, brought by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, challenges a New York law that prohibits citizens from carrying a gun outside their home without a license that the state makes difficult to obtain.


The state requires license applicants to show that "proper cause exists" for a person to have one. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August that the law is constitutional.

New York is among eight states that limit who has the right to carry a weapon in public. The others are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Is this the right time for the SCOTUS to clear this up? A lot is riding on the decision--in the minds of "ordinary citizens." According to NPR:

... the week of March 15 to 21 was the top week for FBI background checks since 1998, completing 1,218,002 total firearms checks.

In January, more than 4 million background checks were processed, compared to the previous January when 2.7 million were done. And in February 2021, 3.4 million checks were reported; In February 2020, 2.8 million were completed.

During the entire month of March 2021, the FBI completed nearly 4.7 million background checks compared to the same month the year before, when the agency reported 3.7 million checks.

And it's not just long time owners stocking up on more guns--these amazing numbers are now being driven by first time buyers, who are also signing up for classes on use and care as well as preparing for applying to concealed carry permits. Boom times for local gun stores, who now offer services in addition to hardware:

First time gun owners, young and old from across the country, are helping to push record levels of gun sales for what looks like the second year in a row.

"My gun store has had a run like I've never seen before," said Todd Cotta, the owner of Kings Gun Center in Hanford, Calif., in the state's agriculturally rich Central Valley. "It was just an avalanche of new gun buyers for the first time."

But the central issue comes back to: Can a state restrict or ban the exercise of an enumerated right in the US Constitution? It's fundamental for our constitutional order.

UPDATE: Another decent discussion here:

Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch appear to be locks for a strong Second Amendment decision. Based on her writings as a circuit judge, ACB appears to be as well. Kavanaugh has talked a good 2A game in the past, but there have been increasing concerns as to whether his supposed conservative views would outweigh his apparent desire to remain in good standing with the Beltway chattering classes.

In granting cert today, it would appear that the pro-2A wing of the Court is sufficiently satisfied that they can now get to five…which means Kavanaugh is likely on board.

The author also makes this key observation:

More importantly, in order to decide this issue, at long last the Court will have to address the issue of what standard of review applies in Second Amendment cases. Resolution of that issue by adopting any standard stronger than the current “intermediate scrutiny” currently employed by many lower courts could open the floodgates of Second Amendment challenges to just about every gun-related restriction.

There's a strong argument to be made that the proper standard of review for any enumerated constitutional right is strict scrutiny. They beauty of strict scrutiny, if adopted, would be that virtually all firearms cases would be decided at the lowest level--and that most states would most likely fold preemptively, knowing they held a losing hand.


  1. How is making ownership of a gun extra expensive any different than requiring a poll tax to vote? If one of those two are unacceptable infringements of constitutional rights, surely both of them are.

    1. I read an article not to long ago that was basically arguing the same thing. How can a right specifically granted by the constitution be taxed and regulated.

      They were growing up some pretty good case law towards the subject from voting and other decisions towards not only concealed carry but ownership and may type of permitting requirements.

      Essentially that's what they have done with class 3 is tax the snot out of ownership at $300 a pop and create a database to regulate them.

      Be nice to see someone go at the whole ball of wax.

    2. I've been saying that for over 20 years.

      In a voting rights case in the 1960s, the SCOTUS ruled that it is unconstitutional to impose a standard of wealth in order to exercise a franchise (right) provided by the Constitution.

      That being the case, there should be no cost imposed for the ownership of an "arms".

      One could also argue that having to pay sales tax on weapons is also a violation of the Constitution.

      A requirement for proof of citizenship is not an infringement because an ID card proving citizenship has no cost to a citizen, and thus is Constitutional

  2. hmmm, my kid just signed up for the class necessary in Ye Olde Dominion to carry concealed...and he doesn't even own a firearm! Let's see...Christmas shopping season is not too far away, so what is relatively light to carry, easy to conceal, and packs a wallop?

    1. HH - 9mm’s are good, Glock & Baretta have some nice models but for old-fashioned stopping power nothing beats the .45ACP thru the Colt M1911 delivery system ;<)


    2. Ammo though is impossible to get.

    3. Too true. We’ve all got to get into reloading. Prepping my garage now.


    4. Availability of components is a problem. Take primers as an example. I have not seen any, emphasis on the any, not any on the market for several months.

      Think about it. 4 million plus new users. Each buys a new weapon. Each buys a "couple" of boxes to shoot,say 100 rounds. That's 400 million primers (and cases, and bullets) of new demand on an already stretched delivery system.

    5. Sig 365 series is the one right now for 9mm

    6. 9mm is just fine, assuming shot placement is just fine. 1911 in .45 is bulky, has more recoil than 9 mm--and the 9 is effective, too. Ask the cop in Columbus whether it works.

  3. @hotlanta

    My suggestion on fire arms starts with a few questions for intelligent purchasing.

    Which frame type fits his natural holding angle best? That will tell you if your going glock or colt type frames.

    Glock, HK, Ruger and dozens of others are 22 degrees of square.

    Colt type variants are 18 degrees.

    Anyone can learn to shoot either/or but one or the other will be much more "natural" and make it much easier on a new gun owner learning.

    A simple test for natural firing...

    Take a unloaded gun starting at you side.

    Close you eyes.

    Bring the gun up in front of you in a proper griped / shooting stance with you finger on the trigger.

    Open your eyes.

    Which ever frame (18 or 22 degrees) ends up being more level front to rear is more natural for that shooter.

    Next thought, you can conceal a 22 derringer very easily, but you couldn't hit a barn at 15 feet with it. So for the most part ignore the conceal'abilty factor in frame "size" and find the best sized frame that fits in his hands. (especially for a first CC gun)

    My wife is 4'11 and 95 lbs and can carry a full-sized glock 17 and keep it concealed on her tiny body, she can't however shoot it well because it's to large in her hands. Hiding a large frame is less of a problem than most imagine.

    Comfort in concealed carry is about how you carry and more so the holster that works for you. (Every one is different)

    When you find a good hand fit... Try the eyes closed trick on a few different sizes / models. Check both up and down / left to right sighting when you open your eyes. Everyone is different and some guns fit naturally way better than others. That adds to accuracy that may save your life.

    Next thought is ammo type and that will add to frame thickness. 9mm takes up a lot less space than 45s do and are generally lighter in weight so there is where you can help in the conceal carry department.

    If his position works out to be 22 degrees, I'd go for a glock 9mm , I'm living proof their indestructible. Whatever frame size naturally fits his hands the best is the "model" you want.

    If he's a colt angle, springfield xd series are great guns.

    Consider... Current legislation is trying to ban +10 magazines again. Find an answer on the above things and buy your spare mags early!!!

    Hope that help...

    1. Good advice, D-Man. Thumbs up!


  4. Speaking of SCOTUS (though on the topic of ACB's role in SCOTUS declining to consider the 2020 election-rule change cases:

    1. Yeah, but she has a lot of mouths to feed.. /s