It goes without saying that these are some difficult times. High inflation and a stagnant (or possibly receding?) economy brings echoes of the Carter-era malaise. Any good news during trying times needs to be spread far, wide, and quickly. Such is the nature of today’s Supreme Court ruling, the Bruen decision.
In case you’re not up to speed on the terminology. Here’s a quick refresher. In general terms, there are three ways that states handle concealed carry permits: Constitutional Carry, Shall Issue, and May Issue.
Constitutional Carry is simple. The Second Amendment is your permit to protect yourself and loved ones from threats. If you are legally allowed to own a gun, you’re also allowed to carry that gun concealed. Just as the framers intended, personal responsibility reigns, and citizens take on the duty of carrying a firearm without any babysitting from their state government. Vermont is the undisputed king of Constitutional Carry, having guaranteed it to its citizens for decades, while the rest of the country lagged behind. But over the last 15 years, more and more states have traded up from permitted carry to Constitutional Carry to the point that there are now 25 Constitutional Carry states.
Shall Issue is lawyerspeak for must issue. If legal gun owners of a Shall Issue state submit the proper paperwork and jump through various other hoops, like a training course, the state is required to issue them a concealed carry permit. Most 2nd Amendment supporters will argue that requiring residents to pay a fee in order to exercise one of their God-given rights is unconstitutional. It sure sounds shady to me! I don’t remember ever needing to pay a fee in order to speak my mind in a public space. But I digress. The trend is obvious, and Shall Issue states are slowly becoming Constitutional Carry states.
May Issue is the sneaky one. States like New York claim to offer concealed carry permits to their residents, but in reality it’s nearly impossible to get one. Part of their permit process is proving to the state that you have an imminent need or reason to carry concealed. Because the government officials granting the permits can decide whether your reason is sufficient, they’ve slowly devolved into almost never granting permits. In practice, the only people with concealed carry permits in May Issue states are friends of politicians or people who’ve paid off politicians.
Enter the Bruen decision. Long story short, a lawsuit in New York made its way to the Supreme Court, and our glorious constitutional originalist justices have decided that May Issue is unconstitutional. Their ruling simply states that the 2nd and 14th Amendments (and also citing the 2008 Heller decision) already guarantee our right to carry firearms. Of all possible outcomes, it’s not the absolute best (which would have been mandating nationwide Constitutional Carry), but this is still a huge victory. And it shows that at least four of the justices are very Pro 2A. Just check out this little excerpt from Justice Alito’s response to the three dissenting justices:
“Why, for example, does the dissent think it is relevant to recount the mass shootings that have occurred in recent years? Post, at 4–5. Does the dissent think that laws like New York’s prevent or deter such atrocities? Will a person bent on carrying out a mass shooting be stopped if he knows that it is illegal to carry a handgun outside the home? And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.”
So, the fallout from this decision is that the May Issue states, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, are going to become Shall Issue. So residents in those states will soon be able to apply for concealed carry permits, and have them granted with only minimal intrusion on their God-given right to self defense. Secondary effects may include some further loosening of ownership restrictions, but only time will tell in those instances.
While these are tough times, we need to all pause and celebrate victories like this. We still have many more battles ahead to free our rights from the government’s corrupt claws. But today, for those of us who love our 2nd Amendment, it is a good day!