From Hawaii to New Jersey anti-gun officials are scrambling to adopt sweeping restrictions on the right to carry modeled after New York’s latest infringement on our Second Amendment rights. That includes a de-facto ban on concealed carry on all private property, despite language in the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen that made it clear broad and expansive “sensitive places” don’t comport with a general right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re taking a look at a couple of the latest indigo-blue locales to adopt New York’s model legislation; Hawaii County and the state of New Jersey. Both places have long been hostile to the right to keep and bear arms, and in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the “good cause” requirement that the jurisdictions have used to deny almost every applicant in years past, the goal is to now restrict where folks can carry as much as possible in addition to continuing to impose as many barriers as possible to all those who want to exercise that right.
Hawaii County council member Aaron Chung says Supreme Court “opened the door” for his exhaustive list of places where concealed carry may soon be banned by not explicitly defining the limits of ‘sensitive places”, but he’s ignoring what Justice Clarence Thomas actually had to say about trying to broadly define most places open to the public (including all private property by default) as off-limits to the exercise of our Second Amendment rights; “expanding the category of ‘sensitive places’ simply to all places of public congregation that are not isolated from law enforcement defines the category of “sensitive places” far too broadly. Respondents’ argument would in effect exempt cities from the Second Amendment and would eviscerate the general right to publicly carry arms for self-defense.”
Forcing all private property owners to positively affirm that the right to carry is welcomed, rather than demanding that private property owners let visitors know that guns are banned on the premise, is a complete reversal of how we typically treat our constitutional rights. Again quoting Thomas in Bruen:
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 selfdefense.
I don’t know of any other right that’s de-facto forbidden on private property unless it’s explicitly authorized in writing by the property owner either. I’ve never once encountered a sign on a business that said “Freedom of Speech Welcome Here”. Then again, I’ve also never run across a law charging people with a felony for unlawfully uttering their opinion in someone else’s home without prior permission as New York’s de-facto ban on concealed carry on private property does.
The glaring constitutional issues with this language isn’t worrisome to anti-gun politicians like New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, however. He’s still hellbent on criminalizing the right to carry in almost all circumstances by adopting the New York model.
Murphy issued an executive order shortly after the court ruling, requiring state agencies to review their statutes and regulations and determine whether they could designate gun-free zones. But so far, no legislation barring guns from public spaces in New Jersey has been introduced.
On Tuesday, Murphy said churches, entertainment venues and even private property “unless you the homeowner explicitly says otherwise” would be designated as gun-free areas under a proposed bill.
God willing, the courts will have shut down the expansive list of “sensitive places” by the time New Jersey’s legislature gets to work on its own list of gun-free zones. If that doesn’t happen, then the state will be facing another lawsuit just like New York; one I’m confident it will ultimately lose. We still have plenty of challenges ahead of us, but these anti-gun politicians are on the wrong side of history and the Constitution and we aren’t going to rest until we’ve secured our right to keep and bear arms from their authoritarian power grabs.