Guns And The Constitution: For Every Action There Is An Equal And Opposite Reaction
How Gun Laws And Concealed Carry Are Effected By The Supreme Court’s Most Recent Decision
By Jay Busch
Jay Busch is the CMO for National Carry Academy. His background stems from eight years with the Marines as a MP and heavy machine gunner. His passion for gun rights and constitutional law have driven him push and promote for changes at the highest levels regarding the constitutionally protected Second Amendment.
On June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) handed down a decision that has sparked many constitutional debates. If you haven’t heard by now, that decision pertained to gay marriage across all fifty states.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, in a historic decision that invalidates gay marriage bans in more than a dozen states.
Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.
The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.
I want to first and foremost tell you before you read any further that this is not a post regarding the issue that they decided on. This article is going to take no stance on the issue of gay marriage at any level. While everyone has their own opinion, including myself, this will not be a forum to discuss that topic.
Rather, I would like to take a look at the case law implications of this decision. Sounds boring I know, but if you sit tight for the next five minutes you will learn just how beneficial this could be for people like you and I that decide to carry a weapon for self defense.
The Supreme Court and the Fourteenth Amendment
We all know about the first, second, fourth and fifth amendment. The first protects my ability to write this article. The second allows me to defend myself and my family. The fourth limits the governments ability to search and seizure without a proper warrant. Finally the fifth guarantees my right to retain counsel before speaking with law enforcement. But what is the fourteenth Amendment?
The full verbiage of the Fourteenth Amendment can be found here, but lets focus on the first section.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Now that we know how the supreme court reached it decision, lets see how this decision will have ramifications into just about any other issue that technically should be left up to the states. By exploiting the Constitution this way, the Court is stating that the Due Process Clause extends “certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy” that are established in roughly 75% of the States already.
Lets apply that same principle to carrying a concealed weapon. Since the Constitution’s inception, the Supreme Court has largely stayed away from “defining or clarifying” the second amendment. Since Columbia v Heller in 2008, the Supreme Court has focused more on social issues and insurance issues (Affordable Care Act) rather than on Second Amendment and gun law cases. This is about to change.
Let us take a look at the Virginia Non-Resident permit. At the time this article was written, the VA Non-Resident permit is fully honored in 28 states, not including four additional states that have Constitutional Carry. Using my first grade math skills, that leaves us with eighteen states that do not honor that permit.
Using the Supreme Court’s rationalization that a right established at the state level must apply to all states across the board, we could effectively push that if the state of Virginia allows you to get a license that is honored by 32 states, that the remaining 18 need to honor that permit now. This includes New York, Illinois, California, and my favorite Washington DC. I just named four of the most difficult states/districts to exercise a Constitutionally guaranteed right that must, using SCOTUS’s logic, honor my Virginia Non-Resident permit because it is a right that is guaranteed in a different state.
Considering that this decision is less than 96 hours old, we have yet to see the positive and negative ramifications of the decision. On the surface, and strictly my opinion, this is a dangerous legal area to navigate. The constitution does not actually guarantee marriage as a right. Rather, it has been defined through case law as a guaranteed right. Personally, I believe that the supreme court and the constitution should stay away from social issues (take the failed eighteenth amendment, or prohibition, that took a second amendment 13 years later to repeal.) The Supreme Court has successfully opened up the flood gates for instances like the one above that I called out.
Is this argument a bit of a stretch? Absolutely, but does that take away from the validity of the statement? Absolutely not. Will it actually take effect and change the way that we look at gun laws? Only time will tell.