Reaction Roundup to Peruta

The tears of journalists and editors with an axe to grind against the Right to Keep and Bear Arms are sweet indeed, so let us savor.

Delaware Online is concerned for what this could mean for Delaware gun laws, stating that we just can’t have “common sense.” Such hand wringing is unwarranted. In the lower counties CDWLs are effectively will-issue already, and Delaware is also an unlicensed open carry state. That makes the situation different from must other restrictive may-issue states. I’m not sure I’d feel good about challenging Delaware’s law, even if Peruta prevails in the end.

The LA Times is naturally wringing their hands over the ruling, and in the process gets nearly everything wrong.

There are two problems with this conclusion. In 2008, the Supreme Court did rule that the 2nd Amendment protected an individual right to “keep and bear arms” — a decision that upended a long-standing consensus that the amendment was intended only to provide for a “well-regulated militia.”

There was never any such consensus. Research on this topic began in the 1970s, you know, right after the federal government gave people a reason to inquire about the Second Amendment. The consensus of that research was what informed the Heller decision. That consensus only exists in the ignorant minds of the LA Times editorial board, who are not experts on this subject, and don’t even have the barest of educations on it.

Justice Antonin Scalia‘s majority opinion made clear that the case involved only prohibitions on handguns “in the home.”

I don’t think these people even read the Heller decision. I wouldn’t even involve myself in a forum debate with someone this ignorant, to be honest. “Go read the Heller decision in its entirety, and then you might relieve enough ignorance to even have this debate,” is what I would say.

Equally important, Scalia acknowledged that the right to bear arms is “not unlimited.” He specifically noted that “the majority of the 19th century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the 2nd Amendment or state analogues.

Read the Peruta decision too, while you’re at it. Because the prohibition on concealed weapons still allowed for open carry of firearms, which California law also prohibits. Heller mentioned that as well. Peruta flows from the Heller decision. The editorial board of the LA Times does know how to read, right?

The Brady Campaign seems to be the only gun control group out there to do a formal press release about the Peruta decision, and they essentially say it’s an “aberrant” decision, out of touch with history, and will just allow more people to defend themselves from people beating their heads into the pavement, and isn’t that an awful thing?


18 Responses to “Reaction Roundup to Peruta”

  1. I’ve noticed conspicuous silence about the 7th circuit Madigan decision in all the hand wringing. The antis are quick to point out that Peruta is an aberration and cite the East coast circuits, but they just ignore all mention of the 7th…

  2. Patrick H says:

    Their tears are so yummy

  3. Alpheus says:

    “Equally important, Scalia acknowledged that the right to bear arms is “not unlimited.””

    I think it’s funny how Antis insist that the right to keep and bear arms is “not unlimited” implies that the right needs to be completely curtailed as well. They would have us believe that, because it’s inappropriate to yell “fire” in a crowded theater where there is no fire, we need to license typewriters and photocopiers, and submit all publications to the Attorney General for approval before publishing anything, and even then, only government workers trained in journalism should be allowed to write.

    Well, ok, not just government workers should be given special dispensation to write. We need to make exceptions for rich people who have special connections to government as well, particularly if they are famous actors or athletes!

  4. RP says:

    I love anti-gunner butthurt as much as anyone, but unfortunately they have a large, ignorant audience reading this “long-standing consensus” nonsense. Repeat a lie often enough…

  5. Patrick says:

    I did a lot of press interaction due to Woollard in Maryland and how it was going to affect the state.

    One thing I asked – after several hours over several days of interviews with some reporters – was if they had ever even read Heller outside of the press releases from whatever side they were talking with?

    The answer was always ‘no’.

    They would ask me something, then run to the anti-gun people who would claim “Scalia said…”. Then I’d point out to them the actual ruling and how the supporting cases played a role (exactly the way the Peruta decision dropped, FWIW). I even took the time to write up a “brief” of sort that excerpted the Heller and McDonald elements of interest and then footnoted the hell out of it with pointers to outside commentary. I told the reporters to at least read that, and then to openly share it with the anti-gun side and get their take on it.

    It must have worked, because all of a sudden those reporters stopped claiming Heller banned concealed carry.

    And although anecdotal, I finally got some senior people at the state police to read the Heller/McDonald ruling. It took a ton of nagging, but eventually they took a few hours over a weekend and did it. The result? I was told it was “eye opening” and “gripping” and that “we’ve got it all wrong, up here.”

    Sebastian is right. If these people actually would sit down and spend a few hours doing some reading, they would probably come across much less crazy. It might not change minds, but at least they get some facts correct.

    On the other hand, so many people are now fighting using an incorrect understanding that it’s a bit easier for us to stop some dumb stuff, once the lawyers start whispering in the right ears. We killed a few bills that way – getting to liberal lawmakers who also happened to be attorneys and giving them a legal memo. It worked a few times, but not enough.

    And I’d be lying if I said we didn’t intentionally look the other way on some matters that we fully expect the court to eventually rule upon. If things go half as well in the courts as we hope over the next five years, then a whole lot of law is going to be overturned without us even filing suit.

    • Sigivald says:

      I actually did read Heller.

      But I’m not a reporter talking about gun control, or a law enforcement officer, so I guess it’s okay for me to read it?

  6. rd says:

    Question from someone in the midwest.

    Does unlicensed open carry work in Delaware?
    Or do the firearm-phobic and law enforcement find ways to prevent it from happening?

    • Sebastian says:

      I’ve heard people are doing it. At first DE authorities were problematic, but they’ve gotten used to it.

      • Cynical Lawyer (in Delaware) says:

        To rd in the midwest: Here’s a link to a guy who lives in New Castle County, DE (northernmost and most urbanized county in the state, where it’s hardest to get a CCDW permit), works in downtown Wilmington, open-carries, and generally doesn’t encounter problems:

        I also work in downtown Wilmington (don’t know that blogger), but had no problem getting a CCDW license *mumble* years ago. I pretty much always conceal (and never go into Wilmington unarmed). I don’t often see folks (other than cops) carrying openly in Wilmington, but when I do see it, it tends not to get much of a reaction.

        And I agree with Sebastian’s analysis of Peruta — assuming it holds up, I wouldn’t hold my breath in getting a similar ruling in Delaware. If they deny you a license to carry concealed, you can just carry openly. And the preemption statute is pretty strong (although our dippy AG would like to change that), so even Wilmington cops basically don’t have grounds to hassle you if you’re behaving yourself with a pistol on your hip.

        • rd says:

          Thank you both for the update. I am glad that people in DE have at least some options to defend themselves and their family, if the government denies them the ability to CCW.

          I was wondering if it could be like CA, where those crazy OC’ers (sarcasm) Lost the battle, but won the war.

  7. Merle says:

    The LA Times is naturally wringing their hands over the ruling, and in the process gets nearly everything wrong.

    There are two problems with this conclusion. In 2008, the Supreme Court did rule that the 2nd Amendment protected an individual right to “keep and bear arms” — a decision that upended a long-standing consensus that the amendment was intended only to provide for a “well-regulated militia.”

    What a surprise – they got it wrong. I’m sure that was just a coincidence…..


  8. Brandon says:

    Law Center and Moms Demand also did some formal PR on the case.

  9. Aberrant: out of five circuits, two have required shall-issue. That’s pretty aberrant.

  10. ctd says:

    “Read the Peruta decision too, while you’re at it. Because the prohibition on concealed weapons still allowed for open carry of firearms, which California law also prohibits.”

    The dissent pointedly missed that, in a “LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LA LA LA” kind of way, citing case after case of “concealed carry may be restricted/prohibited” without noting that (A) open carry was completely legal in those situations, and (B) culture has reversed the stance on open vs. concealed insofar as today concealed carry is considered the polite norm and open carry occurs “to the terror of the public”.

  11. ctd says:

    While I’m pondering the dissent…
    The dissent also adamantly resisted expanding analysis beyond the immediate question of “is regulation of concealed carry constitutional?”. Insofar as there exists a “right to bear arms”, there was no legal way to do so within that county (or state even) as a right, instead having each means prohibited entirely or “allowed” only by the whim of the legislature & issuing authority; the only legal means of carry explicitly forbade doing so for mundane self-defense (as though “I have a reason right now to carry” will usually be preceded by a prolonged period between discovery and need, allowing time for application & approval). Interestingly, the dissent several times referred to “individual” right & need, then immediately deferred to governmental interests: the individual right, insofar as it may exist, is satisfied by the fact that _someone_ (other than a given individual) was authorized to exercise it. The dissent dealt with this by narrowing the question’s answer, opining that concealed carry was historically recognized as prohibitable, and pointedly ignoring the context that every other means for “right to bear” were completely cut off – but if the plaintiff wanted to exercise “right to bear” then he should file suit addressing _all_ other means and how each of them add up to prohibition.

    Upshot: the dissent basically said “we shouldn’t address whether a right covers the totality of means A & B of exercising it, B can be restricted out of reach of most individuals, and we’re ignoring the obvious fact that A is outright prohibited; since B can be restricted, the fact that _somebody_ can exercise the right means this individual right, whatever its extent, is not infringed.” Should that line of reasoning be followed, plaintiff would challenge A, at which point the dissenters would rule “you didn’t try B, which permits that right for some people, go see if that works for you.” Result is a _Brazil_-style bureaucratic recursion where each option is refused because other options exist.

  12. ctd says:

    The majority clearly saw this case is going to SCOTUS and went all-out to cover everything that might be addressed, even if outside the scope of the case, because SCOTUS will go there.

    The single valid point of the dissent: the ruling overturns a critical part of CA law, but CA was not a party to this case. SCOTUS could remand the Peruta verdict on grounds that CA should be made a party and given opportunity to defend its law.

  13. Geodkyt says:

    CTD —

    Actually, California law is left mostly intact. Only the definition of “good cause” needs to be altered.

    Ken Cuccinelli (as AG) issued an opinion in Virgnia (official AG opinions actually carry weight in VA courts) on a similar restriction in Virgnia law (although it was limited to whether carrying in a church during worship services was restricted to someone having a “good and sufficient reason“). As his official opinion states, self defense IS a “good and sufficient reason” all by its lonesome.

    So, as long as self defense is a “good cause” for the typical law-abiding California resident, no problem. ;-)