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On Licensing

The Court says:

Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement.  Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.  Pp. 56–64.

Not that this does not mean The Court is endorsing licensing.  It’s saying it does not consider that, but presumed, because the issue wasn’t raised, that licensing would be sufficient for the purposes of relief for Mr. Heller.  They also demand the licensing must not be arbitrary or capricious.  Massachusetts licensing scheme, and New Jersey’s, would be under jeopardy here.  As would New York City’s.

6 Responses to “On Licensing”

  1. Mike w. says:

    Still, I’m surprised and disappointed they didn’t strike down the provision requiring a license to carry in ones own home.

  2. PN NJ says:

    “Arbitrary” or “capricious” can be pretty hard to prove, particularly when licensing or carry rules contain all sorts of spurious “public safety” or “public interest” requirements.

    I’m happy that SCOTUS affirmed individual rights, but I think the situation is basically status quo otherwise, with the possible exceptions of Chicago or NYC. I don’t think the Heller decision provides a lot of new legal weapons to roll back licensing rules or carry restrictions in most other jurisdictions.

    “Reasonable regulation” is alive and well.

  3. anon says:

    “if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously”

    Sounds like a damn good short term precedent for ‘Shall Issue’ to me.

    Accepting, of course, the long view that any licensing is an infringement.

  4. Ian Argent says:

    IF NJ’s licensing laws were applied as written, they’re not particularly capricious as far as ownership goes. It is a nominally non-discretionary shall-issue permit to own. Just because the NJ judiciary has so far refused to apply that in practice…

    I’m not happy with the law as it stands; it still has up to a 30-day waiting period which is just ridiculous. (and now I can’t find the dang law – which I read a couple months back…)

  5. Ian Argent says:

    OK – I found the NJ State Police page on the subject – http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/about/fire_ag2.html – which has a reasonably consise summary of the laws in question; though they seem to have lost (or I can’t find today) the time limits under which the CLEO must produce a permit or deny the permit.

  6. Jake says:

    “if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously”

    Sounds like a damn good short term precedent for ‘Shall Issue’ to me.

    It’s even better than a “not arbitrarily and capriciously” standard.

    Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. (emphasis added)

    That sounds like a specific requirement for “shall issue” without using those exact words. To not be “arbitrary and capricious,” disqualifying factors must be written, reasonable, and consistently applied. If you don’t meet a disqualifying factor, you must be issued a permit and a license.

    Accepting, of course, the long view that any licensing is an infringement.

    Agreed.

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