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By Thomas Phippen
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had stern words for his colleagues when the Court declined to hear a case challenging California’s handgun laws, saying that the jurists do not understand the importance of self-defense.
The case, supported by the National Rifle Association, involves San Diego resident Edward Peruta, who challenged his county’s refusal to grant him permission to carry a concealed firearm outside of his home.
“For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous,” Thomas wrote after most members of the court declined to hear the California case.
“But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it,” Thomas said.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court’s newest member, joined Thomas’ statement on the court’s refusal to hear the case, calling the decision by the 9th circuit on Peruta v. San Diego “indefensible.”
A case needs to be approved by at least four justices in order to get on the Supreme Court’s docket.
“The Second Amendment’s core purpose further supports the conclusion that the right to bear arms extends to public carry,” Thomas wrote. “Even if other Members of the Court do not agree that the Second Amendment likely protects a right to public carry, the time has come for the Court to answer this important question definitively.”
The San Diego County Sheriff’s department has very narrow restrictions for concealed carry permits. Only those who can prove they have a regular need for self-defense against a specific threat are granted concealed permits.
“The whole point of the Sheriff’s policy is to confine concealed-carry licenses to a very narrow subset of law-abiding residents,” Peruta’s attorneys wrote. “And because California law prohibits openly carrying a handgun outside the home, the result is that the typical law-abiding resident cannot bear a handgun for self-defense outside the home at all.”