(courtesy scotusblog.com)

“The Supreme Court refused on Monday, as it has done repeatedly in recent years, to reopen the issue of whether Second Amendment rights to have a gun extend beyond the home,” Lyle Denniston reports at scotusblog.com. “The Court, without comment, denied three new petitions — two filed by the National Rifle Association. The cases were Nos. 12-1401, 13-137, and 13-390.”

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109 Responses to BREAKING: Supreme Court Shuns “Bearing Arms” Cases

    • It wasnt surprising. All 3 cases (NRA v BATF, NRA v McGraw, Lane v Holder) were unanimously agreed upon by the lower courts. The scope of these cases was also quite limited. The Supreme Court will wait to hear a case with a more clear cut argument than these, such as Drake v Jerejian.

      • I was somewhat surprised by NRA vs. McCraw. It asked whether Texas’ prohibition on handgun carry by individuals between 18 and 20 years old was constitutional. I didn’t expect them to take it up, because that case seems too “small” for the Supreme Court, but at the same time, the Texas law seems patently wrong.

  1. Well, I guess that settles it! Now what?

    I guess I’ll make my appointment with the San Diego Sheriff’s department for my CCW! (if I can ever get one within the next 5 years!)

    • None of the cases were Peruta. That could still go to SCOTUS, if the 9th circuit asks for en banc, rules, and then the ruling is appealed.

        • Its a big gamble. Many judges on the 9th circuit would love nothing more than to strike down the current ruling, if they knew that the SCOTUS wouldn’t take the case and bitch slap them into legal oblivion.

      • Right now San Diego at least is not fighting the ruling. So in about a month that ruling will become final.
        This isn’t exactly the end of the road, but many counties are already announcing that they are changing the standard forms.
        I am not really shocked by this. If they push it to SCOTUS it could mean the end of the may issue for all. Not that I would complain mind you, but for the current administration that would be a huge setback.

    • Sure, go on bended knee, asking for their favor. Or you could just ignore the stinkin’ law, as so many of your countrymen have chosen to do.

  2. In my opinion, if they refuse long enough, it de-legitimizes(I think that’s a word) the court. Kind of like how a champion boxer has to fight every so often or he is stripped of his title.

    • It is interesting that while SCOTUS has established itself as THE final arbiter od what is and is not Constitutional, they have repeatedly refused to rule on the many federal and state violations of the Second Amendment. And then when they do make a ruling they tend to be ambiguous and/or not put any teeth in the ruling.

      How long has it been since Heller and McDonald and the 2A rights of those Americans in those locations are STILL not guaranteed and are still being subject to unconstitutional restrictions through legal maneuvering and subterfuge.

      It would seem that the only way to guarantee the rights enumerated in the Second Amendment will be to exercise the rights enumerated in the Second Amendment. Neither SCOUTUS nor any other judiciary seems likely to take the infringement seriously until that occurs.

  3. Well, we know now what the High Court thinks on the matter.

    They want to strike down the RKBA outside the home, and are waiting for a case comprehensive enough to establish a good ,lasting precedent-or a legislative vote for gun control which the High Court can uphold after a lawsuit.

    If they wanted a pro-2A ruling, why decline to hear every case which would do that?

    More to the point- a ruling in favor of an individual right to keep and bear arms has implications beyond firearms. If the US Constitution supersedes state constitutions- which would be the case for states like California and New Jersey among others which don’t have specific protections for the RKBA- then it limits state power as well as Federal. A precedent which would destroy the nanny state being built around us , a concept quite scary to the leftist powers that be.

    • The problem is the split in the court. The anti-gun justices know that they cant win. To accept a case, there must be 6 justices to agree to hear it. The Heller majority is only 5 justices. The minority is keeping the cases out of the court for now.

      • True.

        In addition see my post regarding the Heller verdict.

        Simply put, the RTKBA was never penned with restrictions, therefore there never were any. As the pre-existance of the militia exists for personal, State and Country defense; How could that occur if it was just intended to be within the HOME.

        They did establish guidelines for said restrictionsin sensitive areas, If the people of those cities really want it. That way people still have the right to choose to live there, or not, and have a choice of their freedoms.

        • Still trying to figure out how the courts can establish guidelines that weren’t extant in the original. Seems the original would be the source of the guidelines, if any.

        • @Paul … IMO, the courts simply make up whatever justification they want to promote their opinion.

          In 1942, they made a decision that a federal law that prevented a farmer from growing “too much” wheat on his own property for his own use was still valid because he was “affecting” interstate commerce, because if he hadn’t grown that wheat, he would have purchased wheat from elsewhere and therefore affected the price of wheat, and therefore affected interstate commerce (Wickard v. Filburn).

          In 2005, they decided that forcibly taking someone’s land and transferring it to another private party is ok if they can get more jobs and/or more tax revenue via the other private party owning the property (Kelo v. New London).

          While I’m glad the courts occasionally rule in favor of liberty, I generally don’t expect them to.

    • I thought the Constitution only supercedes the state constitutions in the areas delegated to the Federal government as created by the states. It is not a blanket override as I understand it. The enumerated powers of Congress are that scope, though the abuse of the Commerce Clause by SCOTUS has muddied the waters so badly that we may as well have only a national government.

      • Tom,

        The Constitution of the United States of America established a federal government with certain enumerated powers. The 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights established that: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved by the States respectively, or to the people.”

        Given the understanding that the first eight amendments in the Bill of Rights neither delegate powers to the United States nor reserve powers to the States, but simply enumerate natural, civil and Constitutionally PROTECTED individual rights, their inclusion or exclusion from the constitutions of the individual states is irrelevant. They are natural rights belonging to the people, including the right to keep and bear arms, and they are: “…natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right[s] — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.” (L. Neil Smith)

        As such, Congress, the Executive, SCOTUS, nor any other government entity at any level has no authority to infringe on the RKBA.

        • This is not how people who wrote the Constitution interpreted it. As far as they were concerned, if a power was not reserved by the feds, it was available to states OR people – with the state governments having a decision in this matter.

          It was not until the 14th Amendment that rights enumerated in the Constitution became limiting on the power of state governments.

    • RKBA

      R – Right: “that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.”
      K – Keep: “to hold or retain in one’s possession”
      B – Bear: “4) b: 1: to carry or possess arms ”
      A – Arms: ” a : a means (as a weapon) of offense or defense; especially : firearm ”

      I don’t see anything there that pertains to inside the home, nor outside for that matter. By definition to “retain in one’s possession” must mean wherever you go.

  4. The case that had bearing on bearing involved carrying by those under 21. It was not a likely one to be heard.

    When will SCOTUS be deciding whether to take on the NJ “may issue” case?

    • I’ve read that the opposition to the petition for cert is due the 6th of March, with conference to be set thereafter. By that time, the court will know if the Ninth sua sponte will rehear Peruta (unlikely), and since the same issue–whether “may issue” CCW is constitutionally mandated where open carry is banned or impossible–it has a pretty good chance of being accepted, as all four circuits that have “may issue” laws have issued opinions. Further, Peruta is not the only case in the Ninth Circuit pipeline–there are in fact four more cases, one of which, Richards v. Prieto, was argued the same day (along with a Hawaii case attacking the “may issue” in law, no issue in practice policy), and which decision is expected any day (Query whether it will be held until the time to seek en banc expires?). Right behind them are two more “may issue” cases filed against LASO and LAPD, and behind them is a Charles Nichols appeal of the denial of his motion for preliminary injunction attacking the ban on open carry that went into effect in 2012 for handguns and 2013 for long guns. [Nichols argues, ignoring the limitations imposed by the GFSZA, that the presumptive right protected by the 2A is the right to openly bear arms.]

      • Thanks for the info. Were the other 9th circuit cases argued before the same 3 judges that considered Peruta? If not, is it possible to end up with a split inside the 9th circuit?

      • The question of a possible split in the 9th also occurred to me. Possibly the outcome of the total of all those cases is what SCOTUS is waiting for before considering any cases at that level?

  5. I think they are waiting for just the right case. Think about it. . . . they could have ruled the RKBA did not apply outside the home, but they did not. Also, if they took some of these cases and ruled in our favor, the states would change their laws just enough to avoid challenges and drop pending challenges like May Issue. No, I think they are waiting for the mother of all cases to come and resolve this, which is why San Diego did not chance an appeal

    • Possibly with intentions for the better.

      Personaly I feel the Heller case made it quite clear.

      In jurisdictional assesment of constitutional absense, and prefatory establishments of open carry traditionaly in our country, there is no suggestion that the RTKB was ever limited to the ones residence.

      The ruling also went to establish that such regulations, as a reactive of a number of individuals in urban areas could, through legal and constitutional means, limit ceratian areas of carry. Rural areas are off limits to such restrictions. Therefore States have no power to impose state wide restrictions.

      If I need to quote the actual passages that support this conclusion I can but I would prefer peoplele to just read the 63 pages themselves.

      • “Personally I feel the Heller case made it quite clear”

        That’s my thought on this. They already ruled. It was pretty clear. They don’t need to rule again on this anytime soon.

      • This. I never, EVER hear strong legal support for gun control in the anti-gun echo chambers, though to be fair every now and then a good philosophical argument might be made. But here I see plenty of well-reasoned logical, scientific, legal, AND philosophical arguments against gun control, not to mention pretty good emotional support.

        In order to support gun control on the philosophical level, you then need to change the actual LAW OF THE LAND which is the U.S. Constitution, and in most cases you would also need to change the state constitutions as well. So you can go on and on about why you need gun control, but if it doesn’t square with current U.S. Law (as it doesn’t, thanks to that pesky Bill of Rights) then all of those arguments are a moot point. At which point I say thanks for your opinion, please move along.

        • You do realize that SCOTUS likes to keep rulings as narrow as possible, right? Heller I dealt with the right to Keep . . .as in the home since DC banned it. It did not get into the right to Bear, which is what Heller II is all about right now (they are waiting on the DC Circuit).

        • Correct. And Heller II is setting some foot-dragging and stonewalling records. Even by DC standards.

      • Steve in MD,

        In the short term (roughly the next 12 to 24 months) I would say your chances of getting a concealed carry license in Maryland is zilch.

        Longer term, I think your chances of getting a concealed carry license in Maryland is very good. Why? There is a split in the federal Circuit Courts over the “may issue for good cause” (which usually means no issue) and “shall issue” regimen of concealed carry laws. Given the recent bullet-proof ruling in the 9th Circuit, I don’t see how the U.S. Supreme Court could possibly uphold “may issue” concealed carry. In other words the U.S. Supreme would have to strike down “may issue” which means you would then be able to acquire a concealed carry license in Maryland simply for self-defense.

        If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds “may issue” concealed carry laws (as currently implemented in Maryland, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, etc.), they will be publicly declaring their illegitimacy. While citizens have chosen to tolerate quite a bit of shenanigans in Congress and the Presidency, I imagine that We The People will not tolerate such shenanigans from the U.S. Supreme Court on such a fundamental, landmark right.

        • I don’t know what the process of obtaining a permit to carry is like in other blue states, but due to the restrictions in NJ, I would not be surprised if only a handful of people will be able to get their permits even if we win the right-to-carry cases.

          Even if we forget about the fact that police captains and judges dismiss permit applications in NJ en masse, folks are still required to provide 3 personal references, and each has to have known the applicant for at least 3 years (repeat the process every 2 years). This in itself is very restrictive, especially when even your friends are not exactly gun friendly. Such high standards are very difficult to meet and in effect prohibit concealed/open carry. I don’t think these restrictions will go away on a state level even if the supreme court rules in favor of right to carry. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

        • Mr. Pierogie:
          “not be surprised if only a handful of people will be able to get their permits even if we win the right-to-carry cases”
          Perhaps National Reciprocity could provide some relief to the restrictive permit requirements though I’m not sure what the Constitutional grounds would be. Perhaps Interstate Commerce could be stretched a bit further.

          “folks are still required to provide 3 personal references, and each has to have known the applicant for at least 3 years (repeat the process every 2 years).”
          This one is easy. Start up a gun club and call it the National Shotgun Association. The NSA would be demonized by the media -finally. Ya’ll could have monthly meets where you get together at a restaurant for a good steak dinner and discussion. You can talk about how good of friends you’re becoming and how long until you can use each other as references. The dues could pay for the paperwork to prove your friends are real.

        • Steve, I don’t think our chances here in MD will ever be “very good” until the governor and the overwhelming majority of the legislature and the MSP leadership are replaced wholesale. The “jet stream” may be directed to change course, but the climate on the ground (county and municipal govts) won’t change willingly or soon.

          I foresee additional requirements and procedures levied that comply with the LETTER of a SCOTUS ruling, but still serve to limit “issue” to the wealthy and well-connected. Somewhat like what NYC had in the 70s. A bit like what we have now, but not what we’d like to have.

  6. There is no reason that they couldn’t have taken at least NRA v. ATF. That was the most cut and dried case of them all, dealing only with purchasing, not carry. And for 19 year olds like me, it would have recognized that we have civil rights too. I’m disappointed.

    • In AZ, one can open carry starting at 18, but stores won’t sell you ammo in pistol calibers until you are 21. It’s a strange world.

      • In Michigan, they ask you if it is for a pistol. If you tell them no, the sale is OK. People do have pistol caliber carbines, after all. And an 18 year old can buy a pistol, just not from an FFL.

    • Im a 20 year old black man in one of the most crime ridden areas of Maryland. I’ve been beaten and robbed twice,less than a half mile away from my home. I have a 3 year old daughter. I have been working as an ASE certified mechanic since I was 16 years old. The government takes 31% of my salary every week. I have a spotless criminal and driving record. I bought a 12 gauge shotgun from walmart in less than 15 minutes. Why can’t I buy a handgun?

  7. The stall of a pro- 2A decision does not bode well. Any replacement to the court will be chosen by an anti gun democrat for the next 2 years, and unless Hillary stumbles greatly add another 4-8 years. Yes children, even my reform school math says the window to radically alter the makeup of the court can be as many as 10 years. Health and longevity in the extreme for the 2A supremes. Memento mori.

    • i honestly don’t think Hillary has any chance at winning even if the rhino Cristie runs. she is too old and has way too many scandals. i don’t see Hillary wining many battleground states i don’t even know if she can win Colorado

      • You underestimate the power of phrases like “first _______ president” have on the progressive liberal mind, especially the young progressive liberal mind & the minds of the undecided independents. Most especially if that blank is filled with a candidate who generally qualifies as some sort of minority or a citizen of a class that was considered oppressed even a little bit sometime in the last 100 years. Most definitely especially if that candidate is the progressive liberal media’s favorite.

        Just sayin.

  8. this scouts is one of the most gun friendly we have had since gun control became a thing in the 20s i would feel better if we had a gun friendly president win in 2016. I may be one of the few who sees a potential for (almost) total restoration of 2a rights. I think in the next 20 years all
    gun ban laws will be ruled unconstitutional(maybe even machine guns) and shall issue nation wide reciprocity or constitutional carry i think silencers will be taken off the nfa too

      • would anyone have thought 20 years ago that almost every state would be shall issue including California(soon no mater what way you look at it) and Illinois

        • That situation has only come about because we have struggled to make it happen. Too many young gun owners have been born and raised in shall issue and consider it a natural state of affairs. It’s far from it and the fight needs to continue.

  9. 2014 elections will be very telling. But, yes, hillary will likely be our next president. The left will vote solid for their choice and we rugged individual gun owners will fracture our votes and insure hillary’s win.

    We need a solid scotus victory before 2016.

    • i predict if the GOP gets senate majority the house and senate will pass a bill repealing obamacare the President will (of course) not sign it and that will provide almost all the ammo the GOP needs against Hillary she also (unlike obama when he ran in 08) has a long established and embarrassing political career.

      • You must be thinking of some other Republicans, somewhere else. All the ones we have play tickle-tickle with the White House on a daily basis.

  10. The biggest obstackle we face, IMO, is the conflicting interests at work.

    How can the High Court uphold a Constitutional Right to keep and Bear arms outside the home, while NOT also striking down every piece of statist legislation ever enacted in the process?

    By explicitly saying a civil right definitively applies outside the home, the SCOTUS puts a 12 gauge slug in the idea that states and the Feds can regulate a civil right .That’s bad news for the collectivists wanting America to become Europe 2.0 . Half the Commerce Clause would be struck down overnight, as would the infernal ACA ….and possibly the NFA too. After all, you can’t regulate the products necessary to exercise a civil right if that same right cannot be regulated by any government.

    No, I submit that it’s a bridge no court will cross.

    • Well put ….. although I doubt that the thugs doing home invasions and drive-bys would bat an eyelash either way. Good argument, though.

  11. The Court was justified in denying certiorari in these cases. In two, the issue was whether 18-21 year olds are entitled to carry guns or purchase them from FFLs.

    SCOTUS has not yet officially decided the question whether anyone of ANY age is entitled to carry outside the home. So, determining whether 18-21 year olds have this right was a bit premature.

    SCOTUS will decide the right to carry outside the home when a case arrives that has no complications. Right now, there is a conflict among the Circuits, so there’s a chance that a clean case will be granted cert by SCOTUS in the next couple of years. FWIW, IMO the Court will then issue an opinion that is virtually indistinguishable from Judge Posner’s tour de force in Moore v. Madigan.

    The third case involved questions of standing. Ugh. While SCOTUS has resolved standing questions when it absolutely had to, the Court really hates such cases.

      • The 9th Circuit opinion was a “justifiable need” case, not a straightforward RKBA case like Heller, McDonald or Moore v. Madigan. The two issues are related but not identical. It’s more like a tangerine to tangelo comparison than an apples to oranges comparison, but still.

        SCOTUS would have loved taking on Moore v. Madigan, but alas, it was not to be. We would have won.

        • It’s hard for me to disentangle the RKBA with justifiable need: If the right to self defense outside the home exists, how can one require separate justification for it?

          Palmer is not making it to SCOTUS in my lifetime.

    • Ralph, isn’t Drake still waiting on a cert ruling? If they pass on Drake and Peruta does not get appealed, then aren’t we possibly stuck in limbo for years? The appellate courts with may issue states all will have ruled without the Supreme Court taking up any of them.

      • Yes, the writ of cert in the Drake case is pending. It is a “justifiable need” case. The only problem with it is that in order to decide whether the “justifiable need” standard violates the Constitution, the Court first has to decide whether there is a right to carry outside the home.

        I am certain that the Court would rather have had Moore v. Madigan to decide. That was a pure “right to carry” case, rather than a case that revolves around conditions for carrying.

        This is not an activist Court. It would rather say, “Yes, there’s a right to carry outside the home. Now lower courts and legislatures can work out the details.” It doesn’t want to make the rules.

        Look for cert to be denied in Drake. However, if cert is granted, then I’d bet big money that Drake will be reversed and “justifiable need” will disappear from the gun control lexicon.

        • Slightly off-topic, Ralph, but you’ve said a few times that Kagan may, just may, turn out to be a sixth pro-2A vote. What makes you say that?

      • See above. The time to file an answer to the petition for review in Drake expires at the end of next week, after which it will be put on the conference calendar. Further, Peruta is not the ONLY California case–there are three more waiting on decision by the Ninth, one of which is being handled by the same panel as Peruta, all of which address the same “good cause” issue as well as the “good moral character” clause. There is a very good probability that cert will be granted this term addressing “may issue”. Patience, Grasshopper.

  12. Disappointing, not hugely surprising. The cases they already heard this term may be telling e.g. Abramski. I’d rather cases be denied than cases be taken that set bad precedent. Allowing carry in public is an enormous leap forward for even the conservative justices – who were appointed at a time when republicans were all about the drug war. Pure speculation, but maybe they want to wait at least to see how IL (and now CA) great experiment goes.

  13. Reminder to all: Most U.S. Supreme Court cases come up on writs of certiorari and the court frequently stamps “cert. denied” on a large number of appeals. They may have deep, dark reasons for denying cert. or they may not. One should not read too much into denials of cert. one way or the other since we honestly don’t know why they refused to bring the cases up.

  14. It’s funny how their job is to interpret the Constitution and make certain lawmakers are not infringing on the rights of citizens…yet when presented with that possibility, they ignore it…like it doesn’t matter…

    The SCOTUS is no longer a supporter of the Constitution. Congress is no longer a supporter of the Constitution…and it goes without saying about the Executive branch…effectively our government no longer adheres to the Constitution and is not a corrupt entity enslaving the United States.

    The time has come to put our government back to the Constitution.

    • You misunderstand the nature of the Court. It is not a legislature, and it does not exist to remedy our poor electoral decisions. The Court is not the Constitution Police, ruling on every law and rule. We’d need ten thousand Supreme Courts for that. And unlike prior Courts, this Court will not answer questions that are not actually part of the cases it decides.

      The Court wants to tackle the big issues — is there a right to carry firearms — and then let lower courts and the legislature work out the details.

      The Supreme Court is not a supporter of the Constitution? I’m sorry to break it to you, pal, but if it wasn’t for the Court, half of us would be in jail for being “enemies of the state” and not kissing POTUS’ @ss.

      • …And that same SCOTUS largely ruled Obamacare to be just fine. Without even reading the whole damn law (2500 pages with 12,000 pages of addendums?) despite that law disproportionately punishing some and exempting congress, executive branch, and big unions. So you’ll excuse me if I don’t place much faith in SCOTUS.

        • Obamacare and 2A have absolutely nothing in common. Zero, zilch, zip, nada. And as I saw in the current American Rifleman, the NRA takes no position on Obamacare.

          Just because you don’t like a particular decision by the Court — by a close vote — doesn’t mean it’s not doing its job. Have you already forgotten Heller and McDonald? They two cases are not all that old y’know.

        • Too bad someone didn’t sneak a Hughes amendment repeal in Obamacare. Nobody would have known until it was too late because nobody read it. Yeah I know. It is a giant fantasy.

    • “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

      You don’t consider a failure of at least 2/3 of the government (optimistic) failing to represent the people to fall under that?

      • becomes destructive of these ends

        First of all, what ends? Second of all, go ahead and abolish the G if you want to. I’ll join you. At the ballot box.

  15. It seems to me SCOTUS has swiftly constructed, in Heller and McDonald, a much better foundation for second amendment jurisprudence than we previously could rely upon. Even Breyer’s dissent, joined by three other Justices, recognizes the individual nature of the right.

    With the excellent opinion emerging from the 7th circuit and the (at least) conforming decision by the 9th, SCOTUS has already obtained a growing conformity with, and elaboration-by-cases of, its groundwork, which is the prefered path.

    Isn’t the very difficult area naturally going to be articulation of exactly what local (state) restrictions are permissible? Isn’t it wise, in fact, to see how the states within the 7th and 9th circuits reconcile their prior laws to the recent circuit decisions? Ruling on the state reactions within those circuits’ purview really should await…those reactions.

    • +1

      But I can understand the disappointment and outrage by our fellow POTG. They’re tired of being reasonable, and I get it.

      • Yep. I can and should laugh at my calm. It’s easy for me to patiently watch the big machinery at work: I live in Pennsylvania, not New Jersey.

  16. Someone else said it early on. looks to me like the cases were very narrow on their facts, and uncontroversial overall (no one gets too excited that 18-to-20 year olds aren’t allowed to buy beer in some parts of the world, either). I think the court is looking at bigger fish to fry when they decided to take a case.

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