Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has joined with 19 other pro-Second Amendment State Attorneys General to support the Second Amendment Foundation’s (SAF) U.S. Supreme Court challenge to state laws that fail to recognize the individual right to bear arms outside of the home for self-defense. The case of Kachalsky v. Cacace comes to the Supreme Court on appeal from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. SAF is represented by attorney Alan Gura, who won both the Heller and McDonald Second Amendment cases before the Supreme Court.
At issue in the case is New York State’s concealed carry licensing provision that treats the right to bear arms as merely a privilege that can only be exercised by people who show a “special need for self-protection”. The brief advises the high court that “Everyone has, in the only relevant sense, a ‘particularized interest’ in the exercise of their rights.” The Amicus later quotes a Maryland Federal Judge, who’s opinion struck down that state’s similar law, finding that “[a] citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.” The AGs’ brief goes on to argue that “[I]n the guise of protecting the public, a State may not simply eliminate that right for most people in most circumstances on the ground that it is the right itself that is the problem.”
“Our case is about equal protection and the arbitrary authority of government officials to essentially decide on a whim whether average citizens can have the means of self-defense outside the confines of their home,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Most crimes happen away from the home, and it is in public places and on public streets where a citizen is most likely to encounter a life-threatening situation where he or she might have to defend themselves.”
In 1989 a Florida appellate court found that “a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm is a privilege and not a vested right.” This ruling continues to stand in Florida despite the over 1 million people licensed by the state to carry concealed. With concealed carry considered to be a privilege, and unconcealed carry banned outright, there are currently cases in the Florida courts that seek to determine what carry rights are protected by the U.S. and Florida constitutions.
Florida Carry, Inc. said in an online statement “We’re delighted to see AG Bondi take a positive stand in defense of the Right to Bear Arms. Her leadership on this issue sets the example for the attorneys in her office and for State Attorneys General nationwide.” Florida Carry and SAF are both members of the Firearms Policy Coalition.