The United States Supreme Court is still evaluating a case that would define rights related to concealed gun permits in New Jersey and potentially across the country.
The case of Drake v. Jerejian was expected to be heard in private conference by the nine Justices last Friday. Orders were issued today and the Drake case wasn’t among those cases denied or accepted by the Court.
A petition was filed with the Court in January. The petitioners, led by attorney Alan Gura, want answers to two questions: whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside of the home for self-defense and if New Jersey officials violated that right by requiring people to prove a “justifiable need” for carrying a handgun for self-defense outside their homes.Gura has argued that four federal district courts, along with several state supreme courts, have ruled that the Second Amendment extends the right to carry handguns to outside of the home for self-defense, while several other federal courts have disagreed.
The Third Circuit was among the courts that decided self-defense rights were restricted to inside the home, and it upheld New Jersey’s “justifiable need” law.In response, the state has argued that a federal district court and the Third Circuit stated that “[i]t remains unsettled whether the individual right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense extends beyond the home.” The state also argued that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller allowed New Jersey to have restrictive gun permitting laws under language from the Court’s decision about licensing provisions.
Gura said the state’s handgun laws are so restrictive that “few ordinary people can hope to obtain” a permit.
I’m a little surprised that Drake v. Jerejian is even an issue for the court, as it seems like a “no-brainer” to hear the case and resolve the issue.
While I’m completely speculating, my gut reaction to the delay is that the more liberal justices on the court don’t want to take the case, as they would likely lose a 5-4 decision as they did both Heller and McDonald. A loss in Drake would effectively end the “may issue” permitting standard used in states that take a dim view of Second Amendment rights, and which do not want the case to be held.
This bears watching, as SCOTUS is going to have to resolve the underlying issues here at some point.