Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another Win for Constitutional Rights

A Federal judge in Texas has ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in that state to by unconstitutional. From the article:
“Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today,” Garcia wrote in the 48-page ruling. “However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution.”
AS with marriage, so to with firearms.  We live in good times to see the rights of the individual being broadened instead of limited. 

The ban is still in effect as the losing side is expected to appeal this ruling, so the judge granted a stay of his order overturning the law.  But this decision must increase the liklihood of the Supreme Court to weigh in on this issue.

A Journalist Sees Reason on Concealed Weapons

Michael Barone sees reason on the issue of concealed weapons in the United States in this article.  He makes an observation that I myself have made before: more guns has not lead to more crime:

"To the contrary, violent crime rates have declined drastically during the last quarter-century. I don’t think you can prove that concealed-weapons laws caused that result, but they have probably contributed to it, because would-be criminals are less likely to assault people they believe might be armed. In any case the argument that concealed-weapons laws would lead to more violent crime has been about as thoroughly refuted as an argument can be."
This is why those lamenting the recent 9th Circuit decision on the San Diego Sheriffs policy on CCW permit issuance are actually very much behind the times.  California should, and hopefully,  will join the rest of the nation with regards to concealed carry laws.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Good Two Weeks for Gun Rights

It has been a good couple of weeks in California for gun rights. On February 13th the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit announced its opinion in Peruta v. Gore, which held that the San Diego County sheriff used an unconstitutionally narrow standard for the "good cause" requirement for issuance of CCW permits. So narrow in fact that it is impossible for an ordinary law-abiding person to obtain a license to carry.

This policy, combined with the state law totally outlawing open carry of firearms (thank you Assemblymembers Portantino and Ammiano!), constituted a total ban on the carry of firearms in public, a ban that the 9th CA found unconstitutional, noting in its opinion that citizens must be allowed to carry firearms in some manner.

The opinion is very well researched and logically argued, following the example set by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald opinions. As such, it will be a powerful piece of case law in favor of gun rights, and it will be very difficult to overturn.

In further developments, the San Diego Country Sheriffs office announced on February 22nd that the county would not seek an en banc appeal of the 9th Ca decision. There is still a possibility that a judge in the 9th CA itself could request an en banc, in which case the process would continue. But at this time, the case is over, and the decision will stand across the entire 9th CA district, which includes California and Hawaii as states that generally restrict public carry of firearms.

Yesterday the San Jose Mercury News  weighed in on this issue with an editorial entitled "Highest court has to review gun rulings", (note that the online editorial title differs from the printed editorial title cited above) which is ironic since it appears on the same that that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rejected all three 2nd Amendment cases that had petitioned for certiorari, continuing their trend in recent years of rejecting all 2nd Amendment cases that petition for review.

The Mercury News gets right to the point: armed law abiding citizens are "dangerous":

"If the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' recent ruling striking down restrictions on concealed-carry gun permits is allowed to stand, California will become a more dangerous place."

Yes, because the law-abiding citizen is the source of all gun violence in this state, and we don't already have hundreds of thousands of not so law-abiding already carrying guns illegally.

"Fortunately, the ruling is on hold pending appeal -- and the Supreme Court really needs to take up this case. "

Actually, the ruling is not on hold because there has been no appeal. Apparently the Mercury News does not read San Diego County Sheriffs press releases.

In any case I totally agree that the Supreme Court should take up the case because there is a circuit court split on this issue that is a mile wide, but it is unclear how this case would make it to the Supreme Court. Only the parties to the case have standing to appeal. Mr. Peruta, et al, have won their case, and San Diego County has declined to proceed. The only thing preventing a final decision enforcing the ruling all across the state is that the District Federal Court must receive that case on remand and issue the order striking the offending San Diego policy as directed by the Circuit Court. It seems that the Mercruy News does not understand how the Federal court system works.

The Mercury News wants the Supreme Court to rule to restore the status-quo in California, but what we really need is a strong ruling to knock down the laws in those states, like the 9th Circuit did in California. States like New York, New Jersey, and Maryland continue to use similar discretionary laws to deny the rights of law abiding citizens to carry firearms in public, while Washington D.C. prohibits the practice altogether.

"The deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis in Florida show what happens when guns proliferate in public: People use them to resolve disputes when they could walk away. And people who don't properly handle weapons put us all in greater danger."

Ah, yes, raise the specter of white-on-black violence to cloud the issue. The Mercury News gets the essence of these cases wrong once again. The Martin case shows that citizens can safely use firearms in self defense: the facts of the case showed that Martin attacked Zimmerman, and Zimmerman used lawful means to defend himself. The Davis case shows that even in states that allow widespead concealed carry, all instances of firearms use will be investigated and must be justified. And the Mercury News ignores this fact: most young black males killed with guns are killed by other black males.

California will not become a lawless place just because more people are carrying concealed weapons, but Californians will have the means to protect themselves from the lawlessness of others in our society. How do I know this? Because that is what we learned from the experiences of the thirty nine states that issue licenses on a shall=issue basis over the last 25 years, and the experience of some 8 million lawful citizens.

"It's urban areas, including much of Santa Clara County, that face the greatest peril if the Supreme Court agrees with the 9th Circuit's decision. California's strict gun safety regime would be seriously undermined, and we would all have to grapple with the consequences."

I do agree that there will be consequences. Tens of thousands, perhaps as many as 1.5 million, people will be able to carry concealed in California, and the Mercury News and sheriffs departments all around the state are going to get a hard lesson on respecting the newest civil right. In the end, we will all be better off.