“FREE” PRESS FLAILS WILDLY AS HIGH COURT TAKES UP RESTRICTIVE GUN MEASURE.
Much to the consternation of antigun proponents the U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear a Second Amendment case. On Tuesday the high Court granted the petition in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, 883 F.3d 45 (2nd Cir. 2018), cert. granted, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 734 (U.S. Jan. 22, 2019) (No. 18-280). This marks the first time the high Court has granted a petition in a straightforward Second Amendment case since handing down its rulings in the seminal cases, District of Columbia vs. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637, and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 780, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010).
The central issue, as presented on The Supreme Court’s weblog, is “whether New York City’s ban on transporting a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, the commerce clause and the constitutional right to travel.”
The City’s restriction is not only inconsistent with the high Court rulings in Heller and McDonald, it is patently ludicrous. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit should have struck down the measure. Instead, the Second Circuit affirmed the lower U.S. District Court’s decision, finding for the City, ignoring the Heller and McDonald case rulings and legal standards for review of Second Amendment cases. In finding for the City, against Plaintiffs, the Second Circuit, as with several other Circuit, fell back on the age-old disturbingly familiar and empty shibboleth: “public safety concerns” in ruling for the City against Petitioners. This “interest balancing” approach is precisely what the Court’s Majority in Heller and McDonald, frowned upon and cautioned against. Clearly, several members of the U.S. Supreme Court were not impressed with the Second Circuit ruling, and granted Petitioners’ writ of certiorari to review the Second Circuit decision. At long last, the high Court has accepted the challenge of those lower Federal Circuit Courts that have openly defied United States Supreme Court precedent.
In requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to grant the writ for certiorari, Petitioners made a compelling case, stating in pertinent part:
“New York City flatly prohibits its residents from removing their lawfully purchased and duly registered handguns from the city limits, even to transport them (unloaded, and locked up) to second homes at which they are constitutionally entitled to possess them, or to out-of-city shooting ranges or competitions at which they are constitutionally entitled to hone their safe and effective use. That prohibition does not even make sense on its own terms. It has the perverse consequences of forcing New Yorkers to leave their handguns behind in their vacant residences whenever they leave the city for an extended period of time. And far from achieving the City’s professed interest in decreasing the amount of time that its residents spend transporting their locked and unloaded firearms to and from shooting ranges (an activity that the City made no serious effort to demonstrate poses any meaningful safety risk), the ban actually forces New Yorkers to spend more time traveling to the paucity of inconvenient in-city shooting ranges. Indeed, the only plausible theory under which the City’s novel transport ban could be understood to further its professed public safety interest in decreasing the transport of unloaded, locked-up firearms is if the ban discourages people from transporting their handguns to shooting ranges at all. But it would be utterly irrational for the City to enact a restriction for the express purpose of making it harder for individuals to gain proficiency in the use of the handguns that the Constitution entitles them to possess. More to the point, a restriction that is expressly designed to make it harder to exercise core Second Amendment rights cannot plausibly withstand any level of constitutional scrutiny. Courts would not countenance for one moment a prohibition on leaving city limits to get an abortion—and certainly not if there were only seven locations in a city of 8.5 million people at which to obtain one. A prohibition on leaving city limits to exercise core Second Amendment rights should fare no better.”
Respondent, New York City, was furious the high Court would dare second guess the Constitutionality of the City’s firearms’ measures. The Supreme Court never did so before, and the City didn’t want the Court to do so now. It didn’t take long for antigun proponents’ echo chamber, the mainstream media, to offer its own concerns; issue its rebuke of the high Court; and present, to the public, its dire prognostications.
The New York Times, quoting one antigun activist, Michael Waldman, reported:
“This is the first case but not the last case where at least four justices open the way to a major ruling that could limit gun safety laws.”
And, in that same NY Times article, the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio chimed in, as well, essentially chastising the high Court’s for its seeming presumptuousness in daring even to consider that perhaps–just maybe–the New York City’s gun regulations do not meet Constitutional muster.
“Mayor Bill de Blasio, responding to a reporter’s question about the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case, said at a news conference on Tuesday that the city would vigorously defend its law.
“We, every single day, are working to make this the safest big city in America,” he said. “We need the laws that we have that protect against guns being on our streets and we will fight to protect ourselves, that’s the bottom line.”
Bill de Blasio offers mere claptrap. The New York City regulation bars the average, law-abiding and rational U.S. citizen from transporting their firearms–in a case, ammunition separated from firearm–to a firing range in another locality. Bill de Blasio has the audacity to characterize this with misuse of guns by that of the common criminal. And, who is it that Bill de Blasio thinks he is protecting residents of New York from? When considered beyond the ludicrous rhetoric, Bill de Blasio is describing nothing more than a bizarre belief that the New York City gun transport regulations protect average, law-abiding New York City residents and citizens of the United States from other average law-abiding, rational New York City residents and American citizens–those citizens who simply seek to exercise their God-given right to keep and bear arms, as etched in stone in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The absurdity of the Mayor’s remarks and, hence, the absurdity of New York City’s gun transport regulations, is plain, painfully so.
In that article, The New York Times also cites a Constitutional law professor, Adam Winkler who, as with Mayor Bill de Blasio, clearly shows his animus to and strong aversion against, the Second Amendment.
The NY times closed the article with Winkler’s sarcastic comment: “The Second Amendment is alive and well in the Roberts court.”
Reading comments from antigun zealots, one might think a negative ruling by the high Court would cause mass gun play on the streets of the City. Antigun zealots avoid drawing a bright line distinction between criminal access to and misuse of firearms, on the one hand, and the free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms by law-abiding citizens, on the other. This is borne out by the proliferation of antigun laws in this Country and the speciousness of the arguments made in support of them.
“Unlike golf clubs and musical instruments, firearms present public safety risks that the city has a legitimate interest in protecting against. . . . ‘Limiting their possession and use in public minimizes the risk of gun violence.’”
Now really! Bringing up “golf clubs” and “musical instruments”? What does a driving iron or a saxophone or bassoon have to do with the best recognized means of self-defense, a firearm? The incongruity of the comparison is glaring. Further, the descriptor, ‘public safety,’ through overuse, is mere cliché. It has lost all import. The phrase continues more as rhetorical flourish, than as part and parcel of considerate, well-thought through articulate political opinion and journalistic commentary as presented to the public; and it exists as unsound argument, when appearing in legal Briefs presented to the Courts. Over reliance on the phrase, ‘public safety,’ in public statements, political commentary, and in legal argument defends the most flagrant abuse of Governmental authority, and does a disservice to the citizenry of this Country who honor our sacred Second Amendment.
Those who rely essentially or solely on “public safety concerns” to make the case for restrictive gun measures demonstrate intellectual laziness. It is mere makeweight, in the absence of explication and rigorous argument. Reliance on it to support draconian gun measures is intended to appeal less to one’s reason and more to one’s passions. The goal of most restrictive gun legislation is to separate law-abiding citizens from their firearms. Restrictive gun measures, targeting millions of law-abiding gun owners, do not enhance public safety. These gun measures make the public decidedly less safe—defenseless in the face of ever more crime.
Such reprehensible, irresponsible Governmental action is directed to destroying the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But now the City and antigun proponents around the Country are worried, as they contemplate U.S. Supreme Court review of the New York City firearms’ transport measure. They know this draconian measure cannot survive high Court scrutiny. So, the media sounds the alarm with inaccurate, exaggerated reports of danger if the City’s firearms’ transport measure is struck down.
Even the conservative, staid, Wall Street Journal report is misleading. The reporter, Jess Bravin, taking his cue from The New York Times, suggests the case will radically expand Heller and McDonald. It won’t. But, that doesn’t stop the reporter from claiming that it does. Jess Bravin says:
“The case, a review of New York City regulations that curtail the transportation of guns, offers the court’s newly bolstered conservative majority an opportunity to expand the constitutional right to bear arms beyond a pair of decisions that, beginning in 2008, found the Second Amendment allows individuals to keep handguns in the home for self-defense.”
These remarks are false. A reversal of the Second Circuit decision would mean only that the City’s firearms’ transportation rules contradict high Court precedent, on core Second Amendment matters, and, for that reason, must be struck down. The Wall Street Journal does not, though, see it that way. To bolster the point, the Wall Street Journal, like The New York Times, quotes the same source, Adam Winkler.
In that WSJ article, Winkler says, “At issue is ‘the right to have a gun in public. It’s the biggest open question in Second Amendment law today.’”
These remarks, cited in the Wall Street Journal, article are false; flagrantly so; and, not so subtly, inflammatory. For, Striking down an unconstitutional firearms’ measure isn’t equivalent to expanding a Constitutional right. Rather, an unconstitutional restriction on an enumerated right, unduly impairs the fair exercise of the fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms. The striking down of an unconstitutional firearm’s measure would do no more than operate as an expression of what the plain language of the Second Amendment says; no more and no less.
Transporting a firearm, in public, in a locked case, ammunition separated from firearm, is hardly the same as carrying a firearm at the ready, anyway. So, Winkler is wrong.
At issue, here, is not the right to have a gun in public. Transporting a firearm in a locked container is not what is meant by having a firearm in public, namely, at the ready. Winkler erroneously conflates the two notions.
But, transporting a firearm in a case, in public, does present a peculiar danger of its own: one of theft of a firearm. Such a requirement is also strange and unsettling as the City of New York would permit a licensee the use of a firearm for self-defense at home, but preclude the holder of a restricted “premises” license access to the best means available for self-defense when outside the home. Why should a law-abiding American citizen be limited to location where a firearm may be available for self-defense? Why must our Nation’s citizenry suffer the presence of “Second [and First] Amendment free zones?” Would the framers of our Bill of Rights tolerate this? Indeed, it is often in public, especially in urban areas, where a person is more exposed to danger. It is in an urban environment where a person’s life and safety is more, and conceivably, most at risk. It will be interesting to see whether the high Court broaches these matters in its opinion in this critical Second Amendment case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, 883 F.3d 45 (2nd Cir. 2018), cert. granted, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 734 (U.S. Jan. 22, 2019) (No. 18-280).
The Arbalest Quarrel will stay abreast of the New York City case and offer detailed analyses of the arguments presented in forthcoming articles. And, we will also stay attuned to media accounts. We expect the Governor of New York, the architect of the awful New York Safe Act, the smugly self-assured and virulent opponent of the Second Amendment, Andrew Cuomo–a person never at a loss for words, especially when seeking to appear well-meaning and pious before the public–will, himself, sound off at some point on New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York. Especially on matters of firearms ownership and possession, the Governor of New York is ever before the cameras!
As New York has always led the assault on the fundamental, unalienable right of the people to keep and bear arms, it is only fitting for the U.S. Supreme Court to take New York to task. For far too long, people like Andrew Cuomo, Michael Bloomberg, Bill DeBlasio, and others–in New York’s Government Offices, in Congress, and in Governments around the Country–have held sway over the American citizen’s most sacred right; a right intrinsic to one’s being; a right endowed in man the by the Creator. These politicians dare to relegate a sacred right to mere privilege—a privilege Government may grant at its discretion and revoke at will–as if they themselves have created the right.
Government officials have not created the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but continue the pretense that they have. These Government officials continue to infringe a sacrosanct and inviolate right, contrary to and an affront to the Creator’s dictate that they should not and must not do so.
New York’s myriad, loathsome firearms’ laws, codes, rules, regulations, and procedures must, then, all be scrutinized by the high Court. That is something neither the City of New York, nor the State wants. Neither the City nor the State wishes its draconian firearms laws–ever more onerous with time–to be viewed under magnifying glass of legal scrutiny. But it is happening, nonetheless. It must happen. New York City, a bastion of the new Left ideology has turned away from the principles reflected in the Nation’s Bill of Rights, and must be called to account.
The Times Ledger reports—and it is mystifying to consider in light of the Leftist leaning of the City today—that New York City was, for five years, from 1785 through 1790, the seat of the Nation’s Capital. It was here in 1789 that the Nation’s first President, George Washington, swore an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States and to safeguard the fundamental, unalienable rights and liberties of the American people, embodied in that sacred document.
But, a new, alien, radical, virulent Socialist belief system and agenda has taken over the City, insinuating itself inexorably and insidiously in the lives of the City’s inhabitants. Socialist ideas and precepts–grounded on inherent distrust of the American citizenry–are painfully evident in the City’s myriad, convoluted, restrictive, unconstitutional firearms’ codes, rules, regulations, and procedures, and in the State’s draconian firearms’ laws. Leftist propaganda is proselytized to the residents of New York, daily. But, a day of reckoning is at hand, both for New York City and for jurisdictions like it, around the Country. It’s about time!
Copyright © 2018 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.