Should law-abiding U.S. citizens be required to show a “good reason” to obtain a concealed carry permit or license, and should they also be willing to give up their Second Amendment rights in order to provide foster care or adopt a child?
These are questions that may begin to haunt the courts, courtesy of the Second Amendment Foundation. While SAF has become something of a legal powerhouse in gun rights litigation over the past several years – it was a SAF case, McDonald v. City of Chicago that brought essential nullification of the Chicago handgun ban and incorporated the Second Amendment to the states in 2010 – one might not see them mentioned often in gun rights court case coverage.
On right-to-carry, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by Doug Pennington, described as a “communications professional and D.C. resident” that complained about a July ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that declared the District’s “needs” requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit to be unconstitutional.
The court panel’s 2-1 decision most likely will be appealed by the District, either as an en banc hearing request to the appeals court, or directly upstairs to the U.S. Supreme Court. Concealed carry and self-defense activists argue that the high court must take up this issue, determining once and for all whether citizens should be required to show a “good reason” before being allowed to exercise a constitutionally-protected civil right.
What if that condition was placed on the exercise of a different right; the right to legal counsel if accused of a crime, for example? How about something more volatile, such as abortion? These arguments have been raised by gun rights activists and almost invariably, the response from the other side is some variation of “well, that’s different.”
What about surrendering to certain restrictions imposed by social services bureaucracies on those wishing to become foster parents or adoptive parents? SAF, as noted in Tuesday’s New York Times, has filed lawsuits in such cases, most recently in Michigan. Previously, complaints have been filed in Oklahoma (dismissed in May) and Illinois (scheduled for a hearing next year).
One might logically argue that foster or adoptive parents must protect the children, and that may include defending those kids from harm by using lethal force.
At some point, possibly sooner than later, one might presume that these questions must be answered by the Supreme Court. Otherwise, another constitutional question could come up: Equal protection. Citizens in one jurisdiction should not have the exercise of their rights treated differently than citizens in a different jurisdiction.
In the process, some gun control advocates may have to begrudgingly accept the possibility that just because things have been done this way in the past, that doesn’t make it right, or acceptable under the Constitution.