I think it is important to revisit the topic of gun control every now and again. A couple of recent legal developments on the opposite coasts have prompted me to reexamine the bidding process on America’s Second Amendment policy.
The first was the spectacular failure of California Senate Bill 918, a concealed carry law that would have instituted a series of restrictions on the issuance of permits. Despite extensive lobbying by Rob Bonta, California’s Attorney General, and support from Governor Gavin Newsom on the day of voting, not enough members of California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature were able to be convinced to support the bill. It was opposed by too many Californians representing too many constituents in the state. The state is nearly as big as the entire eastern seaboard. Newsom, Bonta and other gun control activists legislators stated they would try it again in the latter part of the year after there is no voter backlash from the November midterm elections.
But, I think that this law shouldn’t be ever considered again due to how degrading and rude it is toward the average citizen of America.
SB 918 is a copycat bill closely following the template of the State of New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) that was railroaded to passage earlier this year following the Supreme Court decision to gut the discretionary issue permit laws of New York and other states, including California. New York was furious at the Supreme Court’s declaration of a minefield tapestry in restricted spaces and presumption that denials are possible. It also demanded the surrender of personal privacy and to be judged as good moral characters by the state, which raised a lot of First Amendment concerns.
The CCIA law in New York barely made it through last week’s preliminary injunction, which would have stopped the concealed weapon carry law from going into effect. New York’s CCIA law was put into effect on September 1 2022..
The judge stated in court that he had strong reservations regarding the constitutionality and speed of passage of New York Concealed Carry Improvement Act. (CCIA), which makes New York a maze for concealed carry permit holders, making it impossible to travel from one point to another without being charged with a crime.
The denial of the preliminary order was based upon one thing. The judge determined the bringers of the lawsuit, Ivan Antonyuk, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners of America New York, Inc., and Gun Owners Foundation do not have standing because none of them had been factually harmed by the as-yet-to-take-effect law.
The judge invented a game for New Yorkers of chicken. The CCIA gives New York the right to file a lawsuit against the person who is first arrested. This will most likely close down the law as a hammer. New York knows that the case that gave the law its approval contains detailed instructions for what the state should do in an attempt to enforce the law.
Will someone get arrested for entering a “safe area” that is designated? A Facebook interpretation will allegedly deny a permit renewal. The Facebook page will be interpreted arbitrarily by the family of someone who was killed in “safe spaces” where they could not defend themselves. New York has as many trap doors as there are people.
California needs to be aware of this because it could come under similar legal attacks if it adopts CCIA-like laws to replace changes made by the state to the CCW permitting processes immediately after the Supreme Court decision.
California already changed its CCW laws in order to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision. Things seem to be going well for most cases. Certainly, the failure of SB 918 in part recognized that this turmoil is inevitable and California legislators would be right to question why not just sit back and watch if New York sinks or swims alone in its obstinance. I don’t see California joining the state rebellion against Washington in order to defeat the Bill of Rights.
But that is not the thing that bothers me most about this New York case.
The War Against Ordinary America
The CCIA places unprecedented obstacles in the way of qualifying for a CCW permit. New York’s historical claim that it can issue permits to only those who are willing is what shocks. Squirreled away in the legal documents of the Antonyuk vs. Bruen case is Document 19. “DEFENDANT SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN’S MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION”
Pages 25 to 33, which were pointed out by Chief Judge Glenn T. Suddaby, contain New York’s “historical basis” for its right to implement the CCIA.
According the State’s Document:
“New York’s good moral character requirement is consistent with the long history in both England and America of disarming those whose associations, reputation, or conduct suggested they posed a danger to others or to the public order.”
The state claims that this historical foundation gives them the right to do what they want:
“Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 634-35. :[F]rom time immemorial, various jurisdictions recognizing a right to arms have nevertheless taken the step of forbidding suspect groups from having arms.”
Talking about New York’s eagerness to toss its weight around:
“In the period between the establishment of colonies in America and the Revolutionary War, both the colonial governments and the monarchy from which their legal traditions originated did not hesitate to disarm persons based on a finding that they were potentially dangerous.”
What the state thinks about ordinary Americans is chilling. They are the equivalent to the population that dotted the landscape today. It’s a disturbing reminder of how we should behave in the context we live within.
“From the early days of English settlement in America, the colonies sought to prevent Native American tribes from acquiring firearms, passing laws forbidding the sale and trading of arms to Indigenous people.”
I don’t understand why New York needed to put this statement in a gun control law filing. Because, frankly, we west of Hudson River wouldn’t like New York thinking it’s in the business “taming savages”. We are the ones whose forked tongues speak, California Legislature.
I’ve often joked about New York being the last British garrison left in America. They continue with their legal argument about whether the state can continue acting as if New York was still controlled by a Crown governor.
Colonial governments also directly regulated gun ownership of individuals believed to be unfit. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, for instance, issued an order in 1637 disarming the followers of a dissident preacher named John Wheelwright because there was “just cause of suspition that they .. may, upon some revelation, make some suddaine irruption upon those that differ from them in judgment.”
Likewise, King Charles II of England passed the Militia Act of 1662, which authorized royal officials, called Lord Lieutenants, to “search for and seize all arms in the custody or possession of any person or persons whom the said Lieutenant or two or more of their deputies shall judge dangerous to the peace of the Kingdom.” Militia Act of 1662, 13 & 14 Car. 2, c. 3 SS 13 (1662), TD Ex. 8. 10 Based only on a person’s reputation for supposed dangerousness, as known to one English official or two of his deputies, the person could be disarmed to protect public safety.
And then, there’s this dark claim of a right not only to discriminate on the basis for race but also on the basis religion:
And even after the English Bill of Rights established a right of the people to arm themselves, the right was only given to Protestants, based on a continued belief that Catholics were likely to engage in conduct that would harm themselves or others and upset the peace. This was followed by Virginia, which passed an act in 1756 requiring the disarmament all Catholics and “reputed Papists”, who refuse to swear loyalty to the colonial governments.
Then comes the request for loyalty to state:
In the Revolutionary era, colonies frequently disarmed individuals based on their reputation for being disloyal or hostile to the new American nation. If an individual has been disaffected from the cause of America, it is possible to regain your right to bear arms only by appearing before an official and swearing a loyalty oath.
New York calls for a “are you good for us?” test regarding arms. It cites this historic passage on militias in early American nations:
“Character judgments also played a role in Founding-era statutes governing the militia, which provided for the disarmament and punishment of those who showed up to muster and demonstrated their unfitness to bear arms.”
And then, finally, despite the Supreme Court ruling that this logic can’t be used in making laws in the United States, and in a decision aimed directly at New York, Bruen et all refuse to concede New York the right to control any person on its reservation.
“In the period before and after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress and the states began to implement firearm licensing regimes involving a discretionary determination of whether an individual was potentially dangerous.”
Keep in mind, however, that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bruen case specifically addressed the Fourteenth Amendment and the Second Amendment. The Colony of New York tells Washington to push it.
But the truth of New York’s argument, if you take the time to really understand it is that they are stuck in their colonial past and denial about America’s vast nation west the Hudson River. The country recognizes its wrongs to the indigenous population. The country values diversity and doesn’t have to conform to those who are in power. This land is where the American experiment has been made a tapestry. It is also a place where people are important.
At the opposite end of America’s continent, California is where New York makes every argument about its right to treat its citizens like serfs living on reservations. Californians need to remember this next time someone attempts to force a copy of the CCIA onto them. You can answer this by saying “Pack your carpet bag, and get home .”