Even in some of the most gun-controlled areas in the nation, it’s accepted you the right to keep and bear arms applies in your home. Guns in homes are a fixture of American life and even those anti-gun states and communities accept that.
It’s not until you try to leave your home with your firearm that we start to run into trouble.
However, a recent court ruling out of Wisconsin may have some troubling ramifications.
Mitchell Christen admitted he drank four beers and a shot before walking around his Madison apartment with a gun in his waistband one night back in 2018.
That made his roommates and visitors nervous, and someone punched Christen in the chest and took away the gun. So he retreated to his room, cocked his other gun, a shotgun, and called 911.
But when the cops showed up, they charged Christen, 31, with going armed while intoxicated, a misdemeanor. A jury later convicted him, and a judge sentenced Christen to four months in jail. But that sentence has been on hold while Christen appealed.
He lost at the Court of Appeals, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to take his case and address this question: Does the consumption of a legal intoxicant void the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to carry a firearm for the purpose of self-defense?
On Tuesday, the high court ruled 6-1 that the law against carrying a gun while drunk was not unconstitutional as applied to Christen because the jury at his trial found he wasn’t acting in self-defense at the time.
Now, let me make it perfectly clear, I’m not in favor of what Christen was doing at all. This is not responsible gun ownership and I think we all know it. Guns and alcohol don’t mix.
However, the problem is that by deciding he didn’t have the right to carry a gun in his own home, it may cause further problems. For example, at what point is it considered self-defense? Is it only when there’s a clear threat? Or are you justified in having a gun on your person because you think there might be?
Further, there’s the slippery slope argument. If the government can regulate the exercise of your rights in your own home in one way, that can establish precedence for them doing it in another.
Let’s remember that Christen wasn’t accused of threatening anyone or even mishandling the firearm.. at least not before his roommates tried to take his gun away. It was merely in his waistband (we can debate if that’s mishandling or not later). He simply made guests and his roommates nervous. Yet that was enough for the court to decide it could infringe on his Second Amendment rights.
One would be foolish to think that there’s no way this ruling could be used to justify someone else exercising their constitutionally protected rights in their own home. For example, if someone was railing against abortion, but it made someone nervous, could that be regulated by the courts?
Probably not, but after this ruling, I’m not all that trusting.
I don’t think Christen should have had the gun on his person right then, not while drinking, but everything about this just screams that it’s wrong.