Writing for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Senior U.S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard today added another to the growing list of gun laws struck down on Second Amendment grounds.
State of Emergency Gun Ban
In Bateman et al. v. Perdue et al., at issue was the state’s blanket prohibition on carrying firearms outside the home during declared states of emergency. During numerous states of emergency involving hurricanes and other phenomena, lawful North Carolinians have been prevented from protecting themselves outside the home, including an incident in which King, NC posted the entire town against firearms in anticipation of a snowstorm.
The statutes in question were N.C.G.S. 14-288.7, which deals with the prohibition generally; 14-288.12(b) and 14-288.13(b) which grant such emergency powers to municipalities and counties, and 14-288.15(d) delineating gubernatorial powers. Says the central statute:
§ 14 288.7. Transporting dangerous weapon or substance during emergency; possessing off premises; exceptions.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area:
(1) In which a declared state of emergency exists; or
(2) Within the immediate vicinity of which a riot is occurring.
Second Amendment Scholarship
The Bateman decision further extends the right to bear arms outside the home. Extensively cited in the decision were the recent Supreme Court decision affirming an individual right to keep and bear arms in D.C. v. Heller, the “incorporation” of the Second Amendment in Mc Donald v. Chicago, and recent Fourth Circuit decisions in U.S. v. Chester and U.S. v. Masciandaro.
From the decision:
Citing from Masciandaro:“…the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms ‘is not strictly limited to the home environment but extends in some form to wherever those activities or needs occur.’”
“It cannot be seriously questioned that the emergency declaration laws at issue here burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment…”
“…the statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest.”
In addition to the Heller and McDonald victories, attorney Alan Gura recently won a victory against Maryland’s restrictive handgun permit law in Woollard et al. v. Sheridan et al.
Said GRNC president Paul Valone (this writer): “Today gun rights supporters can celebrate not only winning the ability to protect themselves exactly when most needed, but more importantly our continued progress in returning the Second Amendment to what the Framers intended.”