Supreme Court

The Right to Bear Arms Should Not Be Restricted by Geography

The American Civil Rights Union Asks the Supreme Court for Clarity in the Tortured Lower Court Decision of New Jersey Second Amendment Case

(Washington, D.C.)—The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, February 1, 2019 in an effort to protect the Second Amendment and U.S. citizens depending on their personal constitutional rights to keep themselves and their families safe.

New Jersey law forbids carrying a firearm outside the home unless the government grants a special permit finding that the applicant has unusual reasons to fear for his or her personal safety. Lawyers for Plaintiff Thomas Rogers and the New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc., and supported by the National Rifle Association, are challenging the constitutionality of that law.

In 2018 the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against the constitutional right to bear arms, claiming to apply rigorous judicial scrutiny that should normally protect and not restrict citizens’ civil rights. Attorney and ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Klukowski filed the brief supporting the petitioners, examining the type of judicial review the lower court applied to New Jersey’s law, and showing that the Third Circuit is part of a growing list of federal appellate courts giving short shrift to what the Supreme Court has already deemed a fundamental right for law-abiding Americans.

“A citizen’s Second Amendment rights should not be second class constitutional rights,” notes Klukowski.

In listing the confusion of multiple and conflicting rulings on these fundamental rights among lower courts, the amicus brief states “other circuits adopted a faux form of heightened security to justify denying citizens to bear arms outside the home.”

“It is critical that SCOTUS hears this case,” says Klukowski. “It needs to settle the confusion and ongoing controversy between circuit courts that is harming and restricting millions of lawful American gun owners.”

“Our First Amendment right to free speech or freedom of assembly is not limited to our kitchens or dining rooms,” he concludes. “In filing this amicus brief, the American Civil Rights Union is asking the highest court in the land to further uphold Heller and to review legal standards incorrectly applied by several states to claim the authority to restrict American’s Second Amendment rights.”