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Monday, May 5, 2014

SCOTUS Says No to Drake

Probably the best case for a hearing on the issue of carrying firearms outside the home will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The story is here. In a one line order, the Court declined to hear the case without further comment. For those not familiar with the case, it was brought by John Drake, who said he needed to carry a firearm because of his job restocking ATM machines. Other plaintiffs included a reserve sheriff's deputy, a civilian FBI employee and a victim of an interstate kidnapping, all of whom were initially denied permits. In New Jersey, permit applications have to be approved by local police and then a state Superior Court judge.

In a 2012 ruling upholding New Jersey's law, U.S. District Judge William Walls wrote that the alternative to the state's "justifiable need" requirement would be granting permits to carry a gun to anyone who felt "the subjective need based on nothing more than 'general fears' to go about their daily lives prepared to use deadly force. Judge Walls said the risks associated with a judicial error in discouraging regulation of firearms carried in public are too great"

The 3rd Circuit upheld Walls' ruling in a 2-1 decision. Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman decented saying in the Heller decision, the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment extends beyond the home and "protects an inherent right to self-defense."

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