Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced he and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt are leading a coalition of 26 states to defend Second Amendment rights at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In their amicus brief in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett, the state attorneys general urged the court “to declare New York’s subjective-issue firearm license regime unconstitutional.”
New York’s subjective-issue concealed carry permit laws require an individual seeking a concealed permit to carry a firearm outside the home to “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”
The laws require residents of New York “to prove that they have already been a victim of violent crimes before they may protect themselves from potentially becoming victims of violent crimes,” according to the attorney general’s office.
Brnovich called these laws a threat to public safety and a violation of Second Amendment rights.
“Law-abiding citizens should not require the consent of faceless bureaucrats to exercise their right to keep and bear arms,” Brnovich said in a news release.
The coalition’s brief contains examples of citizens in good legal standing who were denied permits after demonstrating a need in order to demonstrate that New York’s “proper cause” requirement bans nearly all citizens from acquiring arms, Brnovich’s office said.
The brief holds that if the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling is upheld, “the liberty of citizens in every State, not just New York,” will be threatened.
The 28 attorneys general agreed the original meaning of the Second Amendment gave Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense outside their homes. They cited the Supreme Court’s Heller v. D.C. decision, saying the holding was that “the federal constitution ‘guarantee[s]the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” and that the decision clarified that any prohibition that “makes it impossible for citizens” to engage in self-defense violates the Second Amendment.
Arizona, along with 42 other states, have objective-issue systems where a permit is issued to an individual who meets a certain set of objective criteria, such as a background check, mental health records check, fingerprinting, knowledge of applicable laws, and firearms training, according to the attorney general’s office.
Brnovich cited the success of Arizona’s objective-issue regime, writing that Arizona implemented a licensed concealed carry regime in 1994 and a right-to-carry for all law-abiding citizens without a license requirement in 2010. He said that while Arizona saw 10.5 murders per 100,000 people in 1994, by 2016, Arizona’s murder rate was 5.5 per 100,000, nearly matching the national rate of 5.3.
The brief offered empirical evidence that citizens who are concealed carry holders are significantly less likely than the general public to commit a crime and argued that objective-issue permitting and concealed carry permits generally decrease crime. The attorneys general cited a 2013 review by the National Research Council that reveals victims of crime who resist with a gun are less likely to suffer serious injury than victims who either resist in other ways or offer no resistance at all.
“New York cannot override the Second Amendment or the natural right of self-preservation,” Brnovich said. “I will continue to vigorously protect Americans’ constitutional rights.”
By Elizabeth Troutman | The Center Square contributor