Sometimes a dog that doesn't bark bears important news. Drake v. Jerejian offered the Supreme Court its fourth opportunity in a year to decide whether states must allow civilians to carry handguns in public.
Despite having dozens of opportunities in the six years since its decision in DC v. Heller, the Supreme Court has not extended the Second Amendment right beyond allowing an operable handgun for self defense in one's home. The Court is nearing the end of their term and there are no other petitions pending that would afford them an opportunity to address the issue.
When SCOTUS announced today that they will not hear Drake's appeal they also silently communicated something else. Appeals of any similar cases coming up through the lower courts will not even be considered until some time this fall. Any opinion on the right to carry a gun in public will not be issued any time before spring 2015, at the earliest.
The case is important.
The petitioners were all law abiding gun owners seeking a permit to carry a gun in public. New Jersey requires applicants to prove they have a good reason above and beyond the general public, why they should be allowed to carry a gun for self-defense.
[From the petition] Justifiable need means the "urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun."This diary will explain why this news about a single, very specific New Jersey gun law has national implications. Please join me below the fold.
The case was an opportunity for SCOTUS to consider whether the Second Amendment protects armed self-defense in public.
The petitioners wanted the Supreme Court to address two questions.
1. Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense.If they had decided to review this case, it would have become the third seminal gun right's case, the first since Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010). Generally speaking, the Second Amendment right articulated in Heller relies on the fact that the public has no right to be present in someone else's home. Out in public unarmed people have just as much right to exist as people with a gun do. There is no remedy in court when a mistaken gun owner fatally shoots someone. It is far from certain if, how and when they will expand gun rights into the public sphere.
2. Whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to exercise their right to carry a handgun for self self-defense first prove a “justifiable need” for doing so.
- Petition - Drake v Jerejian
The decision to deny the appeal outright, without even hearing oral arguments, has far-reaching implications across the country. There are several similar cases coming up through the lower courts that would have been impacted if SCOTUS had accepted the appeal.
- The Supreme Court will not consider any other appeals like this until fall 2014 or spring 2015.
- The Supreme Court will not issue an opinion on public RKBA until spring 2015, at the earliest.
- NJ, MD, CA, and HI have similarly strict requirements for concealed carry permits. Washington DC is the only jurisdiction that has a more restrictive law. With SCOTUS taking a pass, lower courts considering similar laws may be less likely to strike them down.
- State Courts will continue to have discretion to decide cases according to their own application of Heller and their state constitution.
- Federal Courts will continue to have discretion/freedom to decide cases according to each Court's interpretation of Heller.
In this diary I explained why this SCOTUS decision, to let the 4th Circuit's decision stand, was a very important one. Denial of the appeal means the case has reached a dead end for Drake et al. Although the case challenged a very small part of state law in New Jersey, applicable only within the state of New Jersey, the silence of the Court speaks loudly across the rest of the country.
Intro to Drake v Jerejian - SCOTUS decision on appeal postponed again
- Introduced the parties and the constitutional questions as viewed by the petitioner's counsel, Alan Gura, by LilithGardener
Is SCOTUS Ready to Rule on Carrying Guns in Public?
- Introduced the history of the case, the specific NJ law being challenged, and arguments from both sides, by TRPChicago
SCOTUS declines to review Drake v. Jerejian, the NJ case that limits gun carry permits
- Announces the news, comments discuss various aspects, TRP Chicago
Concealed Carry Law Petitions SCOTUS - Woollard v Gallagher, by LilithGardener
- A long diary covering Maryland's "good cause" requirement, the facts of the case and the 2-step legal analysis used by the 4th Circuit to uphold the law.
What is Reciprocity - Introduction to Concealed Carry Weapons Law
- Includes a primer on concealed carry permit laws across the nation, by LilithGardener
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6:51 PM PT:
Please be careful reading as some text may have shifted. I edited the diary in more than one place. I added the following to the Introduction. The first paragraph below this one was moved up from below the fold. The definition of justifiable need is from the petition.
The petitioners were all law abiding gun owners seeking a permit to carry a gun in public. New Jersey requires applicants to prove they have a good reason above and beyond the general public, why they should be allowed to carry a gun for self-defense in public.
[Edited @6:41 to add NJ's definition of "good cause." From the petition] Justifiable need means the "urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun."
I also edited the bullet points at the end.
Tue May 06, 2014 at 9:09 AM PT: At the request of a reader, I added a summary paragraph and move the further reading above the group template.