The National Rifle Association took to its website Wednesday to express its disappointment that the Supreme Court refused to hear a case that had wide-ranging ramifications on the Second Amendment. In particular, the right of an individual to carry a firearm outside their home. However, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization did have a bright spot to focus on, namely the Court’s newest member.
About the case, the NRA’s Chris W. Cox wrote:
Gun owners were justifiably disappointed June 26, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Peruta v. California. The denial was a setback in NRA’s efforts to secure judicial recognition that the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms outside the home. For now, misguided state and local governments will continue to deny their residents’ Right-to-Carry.
The Peruta case began back in October 2009, when plaintiff Edward Peruta filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California arguing that San Diego County Sheriff William Gore violated his Second Amendment rights. Under California’s permitting law, Gore had wide discretion to deny carry permits to applicants unless they demonstrated “good cause” for obtaining it. A desire to exercise the Second Amendment right to self-defense did not meet the sheriff’s definition of “good cause.”
The case may well have cut the legs out from under “may issue” jurisdictions in their efforts to keep citizens disarmed as much as humanly possible. With the Court’s refusal to hear the case, it will be even more important for activists in such states to continue their efforts to change the law through their respective legislatures.
However, the NRA didn’t see all doom and gloom.
Coinciding with the Court’s decision to reject Peruta, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a blistering dissent from the court’s denial. He was joined by the newest member of the Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Thomas admonished the Ninth Circuit’s failure to address California’s entire carry scheme as “indefensible.” Joined by Gorsuch, he went on to explain that the Supreme Court has “already suggested that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms in public in some fashion.”
Gorsuch’s actions represent a major victory for gun owners and reminder of how important elections truly are. Following the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, gun owners faced the prospect of a Court that would pervert the Second Amendment to eliminate its protections for our individual right to keep and bear arms. But gun owners rose to the challenge, putting pressure on their Senators to reject Barack Obama’s anti-gun nominee, Merrick Garland. Illustrating the importance gun rights supporters played in this battle, the New York Times editorial page whined, “The Senate Defers to the N.R.A.”
This is welcome news for those who hoped Justice Gorsuch would be a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. Hard Garland been confirmed, this case would have been refused anyway, but this case wouldn’t be the only one at risk. Also at risk were recent pro-Second Amendment decisions such as Heller and McDonald.
At least with Gorsuch in place and clearly standing by his pro-Second Amendment principles, gun rights activists can rest a bit easier knowing such an ally is by their side.