The U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) (.pdf) held that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to have a handgun in the home to protect life and property. This is colloquially referred to as the castle doctrine. But the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review cases backed by the NRA seeking to extend that Second Amendment right to carry handguns outside of the home for self-defense.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review in two such cases backed by the NRA. Justices deny review of gun-rights appeals – CNN.com:
The Justices declined to review two cases brought by the National Rifle Association that deal with whether those age 18-20 can buy and then carry handguns in public for self-defense.
The justices gave no reason for denying those cases and a third gun-control appeal on out-of-state weapon transfers.
The decision not to intervene means the state and federal laws at issue will remain in effect[.]
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At issue in NRA v. McCraw (13-390) was whether the right to bear arms in public for self-defense extends to responsible, law-abiding 18- to 20-year-olds.
State law permits those 21 and older to apply for a license to carry a concealed weapon.
Many states have similar restrictions, citing concerns over crime rates among certain young adults, and whether they have the necessary level of maturity and responsibility to carry a handgun.
The second legal challenge dealt with a 1968 congressional law that restricts sales of handguns by federally-licensed firearms dealers only to those 21 and older. Those 18-to-20 may still be allowed to purchase shotguns and certain type of rifles, or receive handguns as a gift.
Two young Texas gun owners– Andrew Payne and Katherine Taggart– had brought the original lawsuit in NRA v. ATF (13-137).
Again, the nation’s most powerful gun rights group failed to convince the high court to address whether a nationwide, class-based, categorical ban on meaningful access to exercise the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.
The justices also turned down a more narrow appeal in Lane v. Holder (12-1401), denying gun owners in Washington D.C. the ability to sue over city laws making it hard to legally transfer weapons purchased in nearby jurisdictions.
Today in a much watched case, Drake v. Jerejian, the U.S. Supreme Court again declined to review a case from New Jersey that raised the following issues:
Issues: (1) Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense; and (2) whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to exercise their right to carry a handgun for self-defense first prove a “justifiable need” for doing so.
The Supreme Court has turned away another case over whether Americans have a constitutional right to be armed in public.
The justices today let stand a lower court ruling upholding a New Jersey requirement for gun owners to show an urgent need to carry a handgun outside their home for self-defense. Both a police official and a judge must approve the permits.
The New Jersey law was challenged by four individuals and two gun groups, and had the backing of 19 states.
The case Drake v. Jerejian has become increasingly-high profile in the years since it was first filed, and is now being watched by gun-rights and gun-control advocates alike nationwide.
Originally filed in 2010 by a Newton pet store owner who was kidnapped in an apparent case of mistaken identity but who was later denied a concealed-carry permit, the suit has changed plaintiffs and defendants several times.
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In the last few months, the NRA and 19 states have filed paperwork to support Drake’s arguments that his Second-Amendment rights are being taken away by New Jersey’s requirement to show “justifiable need.”
The justices turned away similar questions on at least two earlier occasions.
The court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller focused mainly on the right to defend one’s own home, but left for another day how broadly the Second Amendment may protect gun rights elsewhere.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not agreed to hear a single Second Amendment case since its decision in McDonald v. Chicago (2010)(.pdf), holding that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.