LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
California’s 2nd Amendment Solution Might Be Coming
By Sean McCaffrey
There’s no doubt that interpretations of articles of the Constitution will be endlessly debated upon. However, the 2nd Amendment is explicit.
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
In California, those wanting to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights have it like Californian roads, traffic, and walking across U.C. Berkley when a conservative speaker is in town; rough. While California recognizes drivers’ licenses from every other state in the Union, Californian counties can’t figure out how to get on the same page about issuing concealed carry licenses and enabling residents to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) says “It is our Constitutional right to defend ourselves.” She, of course, is referring to the right to bear arms. California’s laws regarding firearms are some of the most confusing in the nation. By introducing Assembly Bill 757, Melendez is attempting to standardize the criteria used in California to issue concealed carry permits. Similarly to how states often issue driver’s licenses, Melendez says, “If a citizen passes the background check and completes the necessary safety training requirements, there should be no reason to deny them a concealed carry permit.’’
Currently, many Californian governments operate similarly to the FBI and their institution of the No-Fly List regarding firearms. On this “No-Carry List”, is every citizen of their jurisdiction. Instead of granting rights to individuals as guaranteed by the Constitution, county law enforcement agencies use the “may issue” principal regarding concealed carry permits. This means that a resident has to petition, with vaguely defined “good cause,” for the rights that they are already guaranteed by the Constitution. This “may issue” principal will soon be debated in the Supreme Court.
When different county law enforcement agencies “may issue” a concealed carry permit based upon their own interpretation of “good cause,” few consistent decisions will likely be made. Melendez finds fault with these inconsistencies and their unequal protection of 2nd Amendment rights, which runs contrary to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
“Equal protection under the law applies to more than just illegal immigrants and liberal college students,” Melendez said. “The Constitution enumerates the right to own a gun; it is not a privilege only to be granted to a select few.’’
Opponents to Melendez may think that the standardization of firearms law in California directly takes away from local governmental power and control. These opponents would be right, but they’re also missing the point. The 2nd Amendment is an individual right directly granted by the Constitution. While the Supreme Court has said that government is able to put constraints on that right, the 14th Amendment necessitates that they are equally applied, and that the right is equally protected.