After an eternally long hiatus, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a Second Amendment case. And it is only right this case should come out of New York after the Court majority’s disastrous handling of the “gun transport” case, N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. City of New York, 140 S. Ct. 1525 (2020).
As you may recall, The Petitioners in the “gun transport” case challenged a New York City rule pertaining to the transport of firearms outside the home. The Federal District Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that routinely find for the Government on Second Amendment matters, rejected the claim. Petitioners appealed. The U.S. Supreme Court granted review.
Stunned by the High Court granting review, and evidently knowing the New York City law violates the Second Amendment guarantee and aware, too, that a finding on the merits against the government would have negative repercussions extending far beyond the confines of the City and State of New York, the anti-Second Amendment forces attempted to waylay a what would have otherwise resulted in a certain reversal the Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision. The State of New York amended its firearm licensing Statutes and the City amended its rules so petitioners could henceforth transport their firearms to a second home or shooting range.
The gambit paid off. It gave Chief Justice Roberts just such the excuse he needed to side with the radical left-wing of the Court. But his vote wasn’t enough. Roberts must have cajoled the newest member of the Court, who at the time was Brett Kavanaugh, to play along. It worked. Kavanaugh sided with the majority but, likely having felt put upon, wrote a singularly bizarre concurring opinion, ostensibly to shore up the idea, as conveyed during a tumultuous and rancorous confirmation hearing, that he does, after all, support the Bill of the Rights. But does he? Kavanaugh’s concession, reluctant though it may well have been, gave Roberts and the radical left-wing of the Court the fifth vote, necessary to nullify a hearing on the merits which undoubtedly would have gone to the petitioners.
Now, one year after the “gun transport” case was shunted aside and the Court did not take up another 2A case before the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, the High Court will take up, N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Corlett, 140 S. Ct. 1525.
The Corlett case is no trivial Second Amendment case if any Second Amendment case can ever be considered trivial. The implications of Corlett extend far beyond the “gun transport” case, if the Justices agreed to hear the merits of it because the issue in the “gun transport” case was directed to the import of the City’s highly restrictive “Premise Residence” and “Premise Business” handgun licenses. But, in Corlett, the High Court must zero in on the notion of “good cause.” New York requires applicants who seek to acquire a concealed handgun carry license to proffer a reason sufficient—in the mind of the licensing officer—to justify the issuance of one.
Because the issue in Corlett attacks a central pillar of the New York State firearms’ licensing scheme, the New York State and City Governments cannot weasel their way out of a hearing on the substantive merits as they did in the “gun transport” case, by amending New York firearms’ laws and regulations. To do so here would require New York officials to gut New York’s dubious and nefarious firearms licensing scheme—something Anti-Second Amendment zealots would never do, as the salient issue in Corlett strikes at the very heart of government licensing of firearms: that government officials have legal, binding authority to place arbitrary restrictions on the exercise of a natural, fundamental, unalienable, immutable right.
To obtain a concealed handgun license in New York, an applicant must overcome two hurdles. First, the Applicant must demonstrate he or she does not fall into a disability that precludes the Applicant from lawfully owning and possessing firearms. That hurdle is essentially an objective one. Once over that hurdle, the applicant faces another, much more difficult hurdle. The applicant must demonstrate “good cause” for the issuance of a concealed carry license. This is a subjective test.
The police licensing official has substantial discretion to grant or deny the issuance of a concealed handgun carry license. And, since New York traditionally frowns on civilian citizen ownership and possession of firearms, the vast majority of applications for concealed carry handgun licenses, are routinely denied. Most individuals fail to demonstrate “good cause” for obtaining a license under New York law.
The applicant can, of course, appeal an adverse administrative decision to the Court. But, if the applicant expects to successfully challenge a denial in Court, that applicant must prove, to the satisfaction of the Court, abuse of discretion by the licensing official; and this hurdle, too, is difficult to overcome. Moreover, a Court review of denial is time-consuming and inordinately expensive.
In Corlett, the petitioner unsuccessfully applied for a concealed handgun carry license in Steuben County, New York. The denial letter of the County judge and handgun licensing officer was general in content and condescending in tone. It read, “‘the decision [was] based upon concerns expressed in the Sheriff’s investigation,’ specifically ‘concerns about your being sufficiently responsible to possess and care for a pistol’ and concerns ‘that your history demonstrates that you place your own interest above the interests of society.’”
Note the barely tacit implication in the denial letter: the interests of the Hive outweigh the interests and needs of the individual. This, in a nutshell, describes the nature of the internal, taxing war now upon us: the tenets of Collectivism, upon which totalitarianism is grounded versus the tenets of Individualism, upon which our free Constitutional Republic is grounded.
No less than the Nation’s Bill of Rights itself is on trial. It will be interesting to see how the so-called “Conservative” Chief Justice Roberts will rule on this case and whether Associate Justice Kavanaugh will follow Roberts’ lead.
HOW ARE MAJOR NEWSPAPERS HANDLING THE ANNOUNCEMENT?
Well, one leading newspaper, The Wall Street Journal recognizes the importance of this case: a landmark case that will serve either to strengthen Heller and McDonald or will whittle them down.
Another newspaper, The New York Times, is notably and noticeably silent. Apparently, the newspaper that boasts of reporting “All the News That’s Fit to Print” doesn’t feel that the most important Second Amendment case to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court since the seminal Heller and McDonald cases isn’t worth a mention in today’s newspaper, and notwithstanding this is a 2A case coming out of New York. Still, the paper’s publisher, and editors, and reporters know of it, and can’t be happy about it. And, even as they would like to ignore it, at some point, they must acknowledge it.
Copyright © 2021 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.