SCOTUS Justice Kavanaugh Criticizes Placing 2A Rights at Police Discretion

Attorneys for the Biden Administration argued in defense of New York gun control Wednesday and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh responded by criticizing any law that puts Second Amendment rights at police discretion.

The case before SCOTUS is NYSRPA v. Bruengun, the focus of which is a New York statute requiring applicants for a handgun carry permit to prove they have a genuine need, or “proper cause,” to carry a gun outside the home. Similar laws exist in California and New Jersey.

The New York Times reports that at one point, Chief Justice John Roberts responded to attorneys by noting that the rights protected by the Second Amendment are constitutional ,just as rights protected by the First Amendment are constitutional.

Roberts observed:

You don’t have to say, when you’re looking for a permit to speak on a street corner or whatever, that, you know, your speech is particularly important. So why do you have to show in this case, convince somebody, that you’re entitled to exercise your Second Amendment right?

Justice Kavanaugh focused on how the “proper cause” requirement puts carry applicants in a position where their ability to carry a gun depends on their success in persuading an officer to allow it.

USA Today quoted Kavanaugh saying, “That’s the real concern, isn’t it, with any constitutional right. If it’s (at) the discretion of an individual officer, that seems inconsistent with an objective constitutional right.”

Kavanaugh also asked, “Why isn’t it good enough to say, ‘I live in a violent area, and I want to defend myself?’”

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