By Beth Baumann, Alien Gear Holsters
Growing up in California taught me one thing: gun control advocates will do everything in their power to stifle the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, myself included. In high school, I was teased for going to the gun range with my dad. Now, those same people who teased me about my love of firearms are going to the range themselves and boasting about their firearm adventures on Instagram.
After college, I thought about applying for my CCW. The factor that kept me from doing so? My county’s sheriff requires a “good cause” for carrying a firearm. I had to have a “decent” reason for wanting to carry a firearm, even though the Second Amendment clearly says it’s a right, not a privilege. Eventually, I decided it wasn’t worth almost a grand in tactical classes and application fees to be rejected. For all I knew, the sheriff’s office could deem me unworthy of a concealed carry permit, something that is 100 percent arbitrary.
Just like California, a handful of other states – New York, Maryland, Hawaii, Delaware and Massachusetts – “may-issue” you a concealed carry permit, meaning they aren’t required to grant your application, even if you have a clean record. Being classified as a “may-issue” state means both local and elected officials have the ability to interpret the Second Amendment, and the Constitution, in whatever way he or she sees fit. This is a dangerous slippery slope and gives power that is not granted in the Constitution.
Now that Judge Richard J. Leon ruled the District of Columbia’s similar “good cause” restrictions as unconstitutional, it will be interesting to see how this ruling will impact similar gun legislation across the country. Ideally, this ruling should set the precedent for law-abiding citizens to obtain a concealed carry permit, regardless of their reason for carrying a firearm. The handful of “may-issue” states that require “good cause” may face a court ruling that will force them to change their polices on concealed carry permits. Ideally, they will become “shall-issue” states, which generally mandates the license be issued if the applicant meets the requirement for a CCW permit.
The citizens who are issued permits are selected so arbitrarily, that it’s near impossible for many average citizens to obtain one. Hawaii is said to issue fewer than ten permits per year, and New York City’s permits are all but impossible to obtain for anyone other than jewelers and celebrities. A criticism of the restrictive may-issue states has long been that only affluent, well-connected white men are able to be granted a permit. In those respects, it also becomes a class issue. These policies are discriminatory against everyone but the upper ten percent.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that all citizens have a constitutional right to keep firearms in their homes for self-defense. According to Leon, Washington, D.C.’s attempt to restrict the number of people carrying firearms in public to a small percentage is “exactly the type of policy choices the justices had in mind” when making their decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Judge Leon’s ruling is important, not just for Second Amendment enthusiasts, but for America as a whole. The Founding Fathers warned of a government becoming too large, too tyrannical. They worried about a government that oppressed its people, similar to what they endured under English rule. Creating the Second Amendment was a way for them to ensure that the government remained by the people, for the people. If the government was out of control and the people wanted to take back their country, they would be able to do so with their firearms and some sort of a revolution.