The 2A Is Not a ‘Second Class Right’: Great Victory in the Supreme Court


In what has been described as “the biggest win for gun rights since the Court’s Heller ruling,” the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, today held that New York’s “proper-cause requirement” violates…

“ …the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”

The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., et al., vs. Bruen, Superintendent of New York State Police, et al., and the full opinion can be found here. Justice Thomas writes:

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742 (2010), we recognized that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect the right of an ordinary, law-abiding citizen to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense. In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.

In one of the most bracing and vibrant defenses of the Second Amendment seen in a very long time— sadly, from any court in the land — the opinion declared:

The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self defense is not “a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self defense. New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

In a most interesting concurring opinion, possibly significant not only for its brilliant reasoning but when viewed in the light of recent barbarities being committed at the homes of the conservative Justices, Justice Alito noted:

“Today, unfortunately, many Americans have good reason to fear that they will be victimized if they are unable to protect themselves. And today, no less than in 1791, the Second Amendment guarantees their right to do so,”

It will surprise no one, I am sure, that the three liberal Justices dissented. One promising note: Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority!

If I sound just a tad more exuberant about this than I have been about most recent developments battering our Beloved Nation lately, it is because I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation that we are finally seeing perhaps the beginning of leadership by the adult and mature segment of our government instead of the Ding Dong School we have been witnessing for the last year and a half.

God bless the six justices who gave us this great news and God Bless America!

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  1. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby

    I was pleased at the breadth of Justice Thomas’ opinion. I finally read the actual opinion today.

    What came out is I think why New York tried so hard not to have the Supreme Court hear the case. They were likely afraid of this outcome – the Court taking a sledgehammer to a scheme that allows the government to arbitrarily deny a citizen his Constitutional rights. 

    New York (and a few other governments) will keep putting up as many roadblocks as they can think of, but it’s great to have the principles laid out.

    • #31
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