Last month, you and I witnessed a historic day in our decades-long fight to stop rogue states and local governments from effectively denying law-abiding Americans their Second Amendment rights.
On Nov. 3, 2021, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a landmark case brought by NRA’s affiliated association in New York, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. At issue in the case is whether the state of New York’s current policy of denying carry permits to law-abiding Americans unless they can prove some arbitrary special need for self-defense is constitutional.
And, of course, you and I know it is not.
So how did we get here?
Recall that in its 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision, the Court ruled that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms.
The anti-gun lobby claims that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms in public will turn the streets into some fantastical “wild west” scene.
Two years later, in its McDonald v. Chicago decision, the Court ruled that states and localities are required to respect that individual right.
However, in the years since McDonald, some state and local anti-gun politicians across the country have put into force myriad anti-carry restrictions that make it virtually impossible for their law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home. And legal challenges to those restrictions have fallen on deaf ears in lower courts.
But New York’s restrictions are particularly egregious.
Regular, law-abiding citizens have almost no chance at receiving a carry permit. However, if you’re a billionaire, a celebrity, a sports star or someone with the right political connections, you’re likely to get your permit.
New York has created a permitting system that essentially transforms its citizens’ Second Amendment rights into mere privileges reserved only for elites.
Of course, the anti-gun lobby is trotting out the same, tired, universally disproven fear tactics with respect to this case. They claim that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms in public will turn the streets into some fantastical “Wild West” scene.
Indeed, disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo chastised the Supreme Court for even deciding to hear the case, saying “the streets of New York are not the O.K. Corral.”
The idea that law-abiding citizens carrying firearms for personal security is somehow dangerous is ludicrous on its face. It has been thoroughly debunked by many decades of human behavior—the greatest laboratory of all time. To argue about what evil-doers may do is pointless. Criminals don’t follow the law—laws don’t deter them—and that’s a proven fact.
When, decades ago, NRA first embarked on our state-by-state mission to restore the right to carry, I was on the front lines of this political battle. I sat through the hearings. And the anti-gun arguments we’re hearing now are the same they used back then. That law-abiding Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights are to be feared.
In reality, Americans who possess carry permits are among the safest, most law-abiding people on the planet. Every statistic bears this out. And every law-abiding American is entitled to the fundamental, constitutional right to bear arms for personal safety and self-defense.
The anti-gun lobby may be right about one thing: Public safety is absolutely at the core of this case. However, it’s about improving public safety by restoring the right to self-defense to good, law-abiding Americans. The same right that the New York State government has unconstitutionally denied its citizens.