June 3, 2022

Rob Lauer Political Reporter

The Supreme Court struck down a New York gun law regulating concealed carry in one of the biggest gun rights cases in over a decade last month. The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, addressed whether New York State’s concealed carry law violates the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the carrying of firearms in public, a major victory for gun rights. The ruling expands upon the 2008 Heller decision that said the Second Amendment safeguards a person’s right to possess firearms at home for self-protection.

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen:

“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense. Pp. 8–63.”

“(1) Since Heller and McDonald, the Courts of Appeals have developed a “two-step” framework for analyzing Second Amendment challenges that combines history with means-end scrutiny. The Court rejects that two-part approach as having one step too many. Step one is broadly consistent with Heller, which demands a test rooted in the Second Amendment’s text as informed by history. But Heller and McDonald do not support a second step that applies means-end scrutiny in the Second Amendment context. Heller’s methodology centered on constitutional text and history. It did not invoke any means-end test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny, and it expressly rejected any interest-balancing inquiry akin to intermediate scrutiny. Pp. 9–15″

Now on to Nevada’s Conceal Carry Gun Permit Law (CCW), which requires an applicant to take a class to teach them the gun laws, fire a gun at a paper target 18 times, and then submit an application to the local Sheriff’s office and wait up to four months for a license to carry a concealed gun.

The first part requires that an applicant take a course that covers Nevada’s gun laws. This is completely unnecessary under the law. When the legislature passes any law and publishes it, the burden of knowledge of the law shifts to the public. Many folks who get arrested for obscure laws claim they didn’t know the law. Yet that never works in court and is not a legal defense.

The second part requires a participant to take six shots at three different distances for a total of 18 shots at a paper target at a range. Could the government require you to shoot two shots in your pajamas in the dark at 2 a.m. with a 100% score? Again, the 2nd Amendment does not contain any testing requirements. It’s just a requirement to try to justify the CCW law to the public.

Last but not least, in Clark County, the Las Vegas Metro Police will tell you they need all four months to process your background check due to the sheer volume of applicants. And under the State CCW law, they can take all four months. But there already exists a background check run by the Nevada Department of Safety to buy a gun from a retailer that is instant. If the State’s instant background check is sufficient to buy a gun, it is sufficient to obtain a CCW.

The Supreme Court’s ruling last month clearly states that a law-abiding citizen does not have to show a need. Carrying a firearm outside the home is a right, and denying such for one day, let alone for three months, is a violation of the 2nd Amendment.

Part 2 of the background check issue The government claims they have an interest in conducting a background check before issuing you a CCW license to confirm that you are not a felon before allowing you to exercise your 2nd Amendment right to conceal carry your firearm in public, including inside your business. Why do I need to prove I’m not a felon if I’m not a felon? If a felon is caught carrying a firearm, it’s a crime. If I’m not a felon, I have the right to carry a gun for self-protection, period. The CCW is just a cynical attempt to criminalize law-abiding citizens by creating financial and logistical burdens and barriers to exercising one’s Constitutional rights.

The Government has no legitimate interest in a CCW law. (Supreme Court Ruling: It did not invoke any means-end test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny, and it expressly rejected any interest-balancing inquiry akin to intermediate scrutiny. Pp. 9–15″)

In addition, the government repeatedly denies CCW applications due to false positives, requiring the person to hire a lawyer to clear up the government’s mistake and issue the CCW.

In addition, Nevada’s CCW law does not provide any exceptions if a person needs a firearm to enforce a protective order against a stalker, which is the exact reason why we have the 2nd Amendment in the first place. The BLM riots showed that the need to carry firearms is often unpredictable and time-sensitive. Requiring folks to wait three months for a background check while they are looting and killing shopkeepers is a direct violation of the 2nd Amendment.

Nevada has open carry laws. Nevada’s open carry law actually creates more risk for the person openly carrying the firearm, alerting bad guys and shifting the element of surprise to the criminal. Open carry can also make that person a target for criminals who want to steal their firearm. Even cops get guns stolen from their bodies and used against them.

The government can prosecute felons who break the law by carrying a firearm. But the CCW law just turns law-abiding citizens into criminals for exercising their constitutional right to carry a firearm in public with a CCW.

“But in the interest of public safety, we need CCWs.” Wrong! Constitutional Carry (with no CCW) is the standard in 25 states. BTW, they all have lower crime rates than Clark County. There is zero empirical evidence that CCW laws lower the violent crime rate. In fact, Clark County saw more than 3,000 firearms stolen in 2016 in home burglaries after passing tough new background checks for guns. Guns just became more valuable on the streets.

And to those who say, when every other argument fails, “Well, no right is absolute, You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater”. I say, Sure, you can yell fire in a crowded theater if there’s a fire in a crowded theater. The reason you can’t yell fire in a theater that’s not on fire is because that violates the business owner’s rights and the rights of the moviegoers to enjoy the show they paid to watch. Your rights are absolute as long as you don’t violate someone else’s.

I have the right to swing my fist as long as I don’t make contact with someone’s face. I have the right to own a gun as long as I don’t use it to rob, steal, or hurt people.

The 2nd Amendment debate comes down to defining the purpose of government. Dems want to use the power of government to control outcomes in society, including their perceptions of inequities by denying some folks their rights while not punishing others who actually commit crimes. Republicans believe the purpose of government is to protect our rights, protect our lives, and protect our property. The Supreme Court made it absolutely clear that the government has no such interests that prevent law-abiding citizens’ from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Nevada’s CCW law violates law-abiding citizens’ rights to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to carry a gun for self-defense in public.

Nevada’s CCW law is blatantly unconstitutional when using the new standards set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen ruling.

A minor correction regarding CCW’s in Nevada. NRS 202.366 gives the sheriff 120 days not 180 days to issue a CCW. 

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