“Petition is denied,” the court ordered in the case of Woollard v. Gallagher (previously Woollard v. Sheridan), a challenge to the state of Maryland’s “may issue” concealed carry permitting law, essentially arguing that rights are not privileges.
“[T]he ‘good and substantial reason’ requirement was ruled to violate the Second Amendment,” attorney David Kopel noted after a federal distinct judge declined to dismiss the case in March. “The court held that the Second Amendment right is not limited to self-defense in the home.”
That the high court would not take this issue up and settle things to the good is troubling to gun rights activists. It leaves in place similar “may issue” schemes in other states like California, and municipalities like New York City, where obtaining a rare permit is often a matter of elite connections. Thus a Donald Trump or a Robert De Niro or a Howard Stern on one coast, or a Sean Penn on the other, have no problem carrying guns to protect their lives, but “ordinary” Americans need not apply, turning the very concept of equal protection under the law on its head.
In a reversal of that seeming deliberate indifference to gun rights, the court agreed to hear the case of Abramski v. United States, ordering “The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted.”
“Abramski, a former police officer, purchased a handgun, (legally) in Virginia and transferred it , through a dealer, to his uncle in Pennsylvania,” Oregon Firearms Federation, a supporter of the petition, explained. “In spite of the fact that Abramski completed a background check, and his uncle completed and passed a background check, Abramski was charged and convicted of a straw purchase’ of a firearm.”
The conflict arises from problems and definitions on ATF’s Firearm Transaction record (Form 4473) the petition posted by OFF argues. That and a merciless government seemingly determined to have its pound of flesh after other charges against Abramski were dismissed.
There could be a surprise in store for the government, where it gets tangled in its own past conflicting language and instructions, attorney David Hardy told readers of his “Of Arms and the Law” blog.
“I uncovered in my ancient files a BATF ‘Industry Circular,’ from 1979, which advises dealers to avoid straw man sales, and in defining them says they are unlawful if the ultimate recipient is a prohibited person, and lawful if the ultimate recipient could legally buy,” Hardy revealed.
Why the court rejected the Woollard case, and what they will ultimately decide in Abramski remain unknown. It could be, as some have argued, that the first case was seen as something state legislatures and voters need to resolve without “legislation from the bench,” although had it involved a “politically correct” right, it’s difficult to fathom the court standing by while such blatantly discriminatory practices were mandated by a state.
Believing there is a a more fundamental consideration involved here, this correspondent’s position on likely Supreme Court Second Amendment rulings has not changed since 2005.
“[I]f they accept either Seegars or Parker [aka Heller], I believe the court will not dare say there is no individual rkba,” a post on The War on Guns blog predicted. “But if they find there is one, it will be so heavily burdened with ‘reasonable restrictions’ as to ensure the status quo. They'll never admit the truth unless someone, that would be us, has enough power to compel them.”
Unless and until that changes, all concessions and victories, as seemingly significant as they may appear, will ultimately either ignore or dance around the edges of a clear “shall not be infringed” standard.
UPDATE: See Dave Workman's "Is SCOTUS afraid of right-to-carry debate?"
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