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Supreme Court Denies Certiorari on Two Second Amendment Related Cases

Yesterday morning the SCOTUS Blog reported the Supreme Court denied certiorari on two Second Amendment related cases Peruta v. California and Binderup v. Sessions.

In Peruta v. California, an appeal from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, involved individuals who lived in San Diego and Yolo Counties who sought to carry concealed firearms in public for self defense challenging the constitutionality of California’s law which requires an applicant to show “good cause” to be granted a license.

The Court found that the right of an individual to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and has never been, protected by the Second Amendment. It further stated that because the Second Amendment does not protect the right to carry a concealed firearm in public, any restriction a state wishes to impose on the ability to do so, including a “good cause” requirement is allowed by the Amendment.

Justice Thomas, who was joined by the newly appointed Justice Gorsuch, filed a dissenting opinion to the denial of certiorari in Peruta. Justice Thomas wrote the Ninth Circuit’s decision to “limit its review to whether the Second Amendment protects the right to concealed carry—as opposed to the more general right to public carry—was untenable. Most fundamentally, it was not justified by the terms of the complaint, which called into question the State’s regulatory scheme as a whole.” He further stated that “[h]ad the en banc Ninth Circuit answered the question actually at issue in this case, it likely would have been compelled to reach the opposite result.”

Justice Thomas elaborated that even if the other members of the Court do not believe “that the Second Amendment likely protects a right to public carry, the time has come for the Court to answer this important question definitively.” He further noted that the Court’s decision to deny certiorari reflected a disturbing trend, the treatment of the Second Amendment as a disfavored right. But Justice Thomas’s best line was saved for last.

For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it. I respectfully dissent.

The second case was Binderup v. Sessions, an appeal from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, which consolidated two cases and involved the restoration of rights for two individuals who were convicted of non-violent misdemeanor crimes. Under federal law, an individual convicted under a state law misdemeanor crime punishable by more than two-years imprisonment is federally prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1).

Binderup had pled guilty to corruption of a minor for having a consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old in 1998. Under Pennsylvania law, the crime was punishable by up to five-years imprisonment although Binderup only received three-years probation and a $300 fine plus court costs and restitution. Suarez, the other case consolidated with Binderup, pled guilty to unlawfully carrying a handgun without a license in Maryland. Under Maryland law, the crime was punishable by up to three-years imprisonment. Suarez received a suspended sentence of 180-days imprisonment, a $500 fine and a year of probation which he completed successfully.

In Binderup the Court found that as applied to the plaintiffs (Binderup and Suarez) the federal prohibition found in 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) as applied to them was unconstitutional and violated their Second Amendment rights. The Government filed for certiorari to the Supreme Court seeking to have the Court review the decision. As we learned earlier today, the Court has denied the petition and Binderup is now the law of the land in the Third Circuit, making it possible for individuals who have been convicted of non-violent misdemeanor crimes to seek relief in federal court.

With the rumblings of Justice Kennedy possibly retiring in the near future and the health of Justice Ginsberg in question, it remains to be seen if President Trump will be able to appoint more Justices who would rule in favor of the Second Amendment should more cases come before the Court.

Adam Kraut
Hometown: West Chester, PA
Personally owned firearms: Mix of shotguns, rifles, and handguns. I love my AR-15s; I swear they're reproducing in the safe.
EDC: Glock 19 in a PHLster Skeleton Gen 2, Snake Eater Tactical IWB magazine pouch, Boxer Tactical Zenith Belt, Benchmade Griptillian
Favorite Passage in the USC: 16 U.S.C. § 1a-7b
Favorite Film: Blazing Saddles
Last Book Read: The Founders' Second Amendment by Stephen Halbrook
Achievements: Eagle Scout
Instagram: @theadamkraut
Twitter: @Kraut4NRA

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