The Right To Carry Question Gun Control Activists Don't Want You To Ask

David Duprey

The gun control lobby may expect the Supreme Court to decide next year that New York’s subjective “may issue” carry laws violate the Second Amendment rights of state residents who are unable to exercise their right to bear arms unless they demonstrate some sort of special need to do so, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. The latest activist to weigh in is the Brady Campaign’s Griffin Dix, who repeats the tired and stale argument against “shall issue” carry licenses that the gun control lobby has been making for decades.

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, an NRA affiliate, is trying to get the court to rule that a New York State law requiring people to get a license to carry a gun in public violates the Second Amendment.

The court’s conservative majority seemed inclined to deny most restrictions. Asked Justice Brett Kavanaugh, “Why isn’t it good enough to say ‘I live in a violent area and I want to defend myself?’” And Justice Samuel Alito wondered why only “celebrities, state judges and retired police officers” are allowed to carry concealed guns.

Those are good questions, and Dix doesn’t provide any good answers. In fact, he didn’t offer up any bad ones either. He simply ignored Kavanaugh and Alito’s questions, but I’d be very interested in what he has to say in response to the justices’ queries. Why shouldn’t someone be able to exercise their right to bear arms in self-defense without having to show that they’re somehow “special”? The closest Dix gets to actually answering the question is this:

Currently, to get a license to carry in New York state, people must demonstrate a special need to defend themselves, such as being the target of recurring threats. Six other states, with about one-quarter of the U.S. population, have laws like New York’s, and many cities do as well. If the Supreme Court rules against licensing laws like New York’s, anyone who legally owns a gun might be able to carry it in public.

But data shows that allowing people to carry guns in public with few restrictions is unsafe. Gun crimes and deaths increase dramatically. Stanford gun violence researcher John Donohue found that states that relax concealed carry laws have 13 percent to 15 percent higher violent crime rates within 10 years.

The idea that lawful gun owners legally carrying handguns are driving up violent crime rates simply isn’t supported by data. As the Crime Prevention Research Center’s Dr. John Lott has demonstrated, far fewer than 1% of concealed carry licenses are revoked in any given year because of any felony offense, much less murder. If folks legally carrying guns were driving up the homicide rate, we wouldn’t need a study to document it. We could just look at the front page of our local newspaper and read the screaming headlines about the plague of legal gun owners wreaking havoc in our communities.

Now, in this latest case, the court could extend the supposed Second Amendment individual right far beyond the home, and forbid the states from requiring gun owners to obtain a license to carry a gun in public places.

But prohibiting state and local legislatures from passing laws that regulate gun carrying in public would threaten the safety of all Americans. Furthermore, if states cannot regulate gun carrying in public, foreign and domestic terrorists could threaten American democracy.

That’s the funny thing about terrorists. They’re actively trying to wage war on the people of the United States, but to a man they’ll tell you that the one thing that can stop them cold is a gun control law.

Give me a break. Neither terrorists nor your garden-variety violent criminal are dissuaded from their evil acts because they can’t obtain a carry license. I mean, if that were the case, New York probably wouldn’t be seeing record numbers of homicides in cities like Rochester, while murders increased up by nearly 50% in New York City last year.

Will the Supreme Court forbid states and cities from passing laws in response to local constituencies and local conditions? Let’s hope not.

As much as I’d love to see the Supreme Court rule that Constitutional Carry is the default position in all 50 states, I don’t see that happening. We’re far more likely to see a majority of justices strike down New York’s “may issue” law and declare that “good cause” or “justifiable need” provisions don’t pass constitutional muster.

But let’s not ignore the fact that we now have more than 20 states that have adopted permitless carry statutes, and none of them have been inclined to reverse course. The United States has been moving in one direction over the past 230+ years, albeit fitfully at times; but towards the full recognition of our right to keep and bear arms.

The reason why Dix and other gun control activists don’t want anyone asking the questions posed by Kavanaugh and Alito is simple; they know their answers don’t mesh with the Constitution or the will of the people. They don’t want to try to explain how good it is to put people in prison for the “violent” felony offense of carrying a gun without a license.

I believe that at least some of them possess the self-awareness to understand that not only are they likely to be on the wrong side of what the Supreme Court has to say about the right to carry, but that they’re on the wrong side of history. They are the 21st Century prohibitionists, the teetotalers of the Second Amendment. And just like the American Saloon League and its leader Wayne Wheeler are now forgotten figures in U.S. History, the ideology guiding today’s gun banners will one day be consigned to the dustbin of history, with the movement itself seen as more of an embarrassment than an inspiration to future generations.