Supreme Court agrees to hear case on what it means to “bear” arms

Apr 26, 2021 | Concealed Handgun Permits

In the 2008 Heller decision, Scalia noted:

At the time of the founding, as now, to “bear” meant to “carry.” See Johnson 161; Webster; T. Sheridan, A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1796); 2 Oxford English Dictionary 20 (2d ed. 1989) (hereinafter Oxford). . . . Justice Ginsburg wrote that “[s]urely a most familiar meaning is, as the Constitution’s Second Amendment … indicate[s]: ‘wear, bear, or carry … upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose … of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ ”  Id., at 143 (dissenting opinion) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 214 (6th ed. 1998)). We think that Justice Ginsburg accurately captured the natural meaning of “bear arms.” Although the phrase implies that the carrying of the weapon is for the purpose of “offensive or defensive action,” it in no way connotes participation in a structured military organization.

Justice Scalia, DC v Heller, June 26, 2008.

Unfortunately, since the case dealt with a ban on guns in the home, the discussion by Scalia will undoubtedly inform the case that Supreme Court just granted cert, but it is what is called dicta. Although dictum can be cited in legal arguments, it is not binding as legal precedent.

Here is a discussion of the New York case that was granted cert. The alternative was a case out of the 9th Circuit regarding Hawaii.

New York law provides for different categories of gun licenses, including premises licenses that allow weapons to be held at a specific location. To carry a concealed weapon elsewhere, an applicant must demonstrate “proper cause,” which gun advocates say the state defines too restrictively. New York doesn’t allow open carrying of weapons.

The plaintiffs, which include gun owners who were denied carry permits and the National Rifle Association’s New York affiliate, argue that the individual right the court found in the Second Amendment entitles them to take weapons with them for self-defense.

The court slightly narrowed the question presented in the lawsuit, saying it would address whether the state’s denial of the plaintiffs’ “applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.” The plaintiffs had asked for a broader pronouncement, beyond their own circumstances, to encompass “whether the Second Amendment allows the government to prohibit ordinary law-abiding citizens from carrying handguns outside the home for self-defense.” 

The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett, will be scheduled for argument in the court’s next term, which begins Oct. 4. . . .

Jess Bravin, “Supreme Court to Hear Case on Right to Carry Concealed Guns for Self-Defense,” Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2021

As we have pointed out many times, the Democrat states that pass these so-called may issue laws systematically use these laws to discriminate against the poor and minorities (see also here).

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