Gun owners might have a bright side to the gay marriage decision that the Supreme Court announced Friday.
Besides forcing states that want to preserve traditional definitions of marriage to accept the homosexual kind, it likely also means a concealed carry permit issued in one state must be honored by all other states.
Using a tortuous line of reasoning, five of the nine Supreme Court justices held that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in for the majority. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
After a finding that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment comes into play.
It provides that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
After citing the clause, Kennedy reasoned that, “The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.” (emphasis added)
The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment, which forms a part of the Bill of Rights — the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
In the 2008 case of District of Columbia vs. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the right to keep and bear arms for traditional purposes such as self-defense is a fundamental right.
Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v Chicago that because Second Amendment rights are fundamental, those rights are guaranteed to citizens of all states under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Because many gun-owners exercise their Second Amendment rights for self-protection outside the home through the use of a concealed carry permit, it could be argued that such a permit, once obtained in one state, would be applicable to all states.
As Bob Owens wrote on Bearing Arms:
My North Carolina concealed carry permit, for example, was recognized yesterday as being valid in 36 states, which just so happened to be the number of states in which gay marriage was legal yesterday. But 14 states did not recognize my concealed carry permit yesterday.
Today they must.
Using the same “due process clause” argument as the Supreme Court just applied to gay marriage, my concealed carry permit must now be recognized as valid in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
I’ll be driving through the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York in several weeks, places that until yesterday I did not have a legal right to concealed carry. As of today, with this decision, it would seem that these states and the District must honor my concealed carry permit, or violate my constitutional rights under the 14th and Second Amendment.
God Bless America.
Owens may be brave enough to give it a go, but it’s not something any legal scholar would recommended — not until the issue has been positively settled in the courts.
The Supreme Court cases cited above discuss the right to self-defense in the home — not out in the public.
Also, a concealed carry permit is just that — a permission from the state to carry a concealed weapon. It’s not an absolute right.
If and when the issue is settled, reciprocity of concealed carry permits would eliminate future travesties such as the case of Shaneen Allen, the young Philadelphia mom who was arrested in New Jersey because she had her legally-registered handgun in her vehicle.
She soon found that New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.
Allen was facing a maximum five-year sentence when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stepped in and issued a full pardon.
Before the dust has settled, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be the court’s biggest supporter of Second Amendment rights.
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