Reuters was among the many outlets reporting the U.S. Supreme Court’s declining to hear & weigh in on whether gun owners have a constitutional right to carry handguns outside the home in a challenge to a New Jersey state law that requires people who want to carry handguns to show they have a special reason before they can get a permit, and continuing to show a reluctance to wade back in on the issue in recent months, in also having declined to hear cases challenging similar regulations in New York and Maryland.
“In the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case,” Reuters recounted, “the court held that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to bear arms, and two years later in McDonald v. City of Chicago, that the earlier ruling applied to the states. (But) it has yet to decide whether there is a right to carry guns in public, a question left unanswered in its two most recent gun-related decisions.”
The Christian Science Monitor yesterday related that “in his petition urging the high court to take up the case, appellate lawyer Alan Gura said the Third Circuit’s restrictive view on the right to bear arms outside the home for self-defense was in conflict with decisions from five other federal appeals courts and four state supreme courts -- the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Seventh Circuits and the supreme courts of Illinois, Idaho, Oregon, and Georgia having held or assumed that the Second Amendment includes a right to carry a handgun outside the home for self defense -- adding that the highest courts in Maryland, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia had embraced the more restrictive view upheld by the Third Circuit in the New Jersey case.
New Jersey stated its position in saying “(Its) Handgun Permit Law, N.J.Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4, governs permits to carry handguns, “the most closely regulated aspect” of New Jersey’s gun control laws. In re Preis, 573 A.2d 148 (1990). Applicants for a permit to carry a handgun, whether openly or concealed, must demonstrate that they: (1) are not disqualified by a disability enumerated in N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3(c), (2) are thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns, and (3) have a “justifiable need” to carry a handgun. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4c. The justifiable need requirement must be considered on a case-by-case basis. In re Borinsky, 830 A.2d 507, 516 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2003). Justifiable need means the “urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.” N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54- 2.4(d)(1) (2012); see also In re Preis, 573 A.2d at 152; Siccardi v. State, 284 A.2d 533, 540 (N.J. 1971).”