Monday, April 28, 2014

Standing in Line

USA Today writes:

Despite losses at federal district and appeals courts, groups including the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners Foundation back the effort by New Jersey gun owners to legalize gun possession outside the home.

Not quite. The appeals court score is presently the Second and Fourth against the Seventh and a three-judge panel of the Ninth.

But the article is mostly an idiotic attempt to pass off a former SCOTUS judge's opinion that we change the existing wording of the Second Amendment as relevant to what the actual SCOTUS rules on the actual Constitution.

The Ninth Circuit is presently considering whether to allow the state of California and HCI to "intervene" in the case Peruta vs. San Diego for the purpose of requesting an "en banc" (full circuit) review of the panel's ruling. Basically, the panel had ruled against the San Diego sheriff's policy of only issuing carry licenses to individuals facing an extraordinary threat, beyond that suffered by the general population, to their physical safety. The sheriff's office, while not reversing its policy until the District Court determines the specific remedy in light of the Circuit's finding, has elected not to appeal the Circuit's decision. In order for the case to proceed any further, someone has to take over the sheriff's role as the defendant, a role for which the state and HCI have volunteered.

I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that the sheriff's policy was a good-faith interpretation of the intent of state law, and in fact the plaintiff is not contesting the state's intervention. It is contesting, and in its brief totally eviscerates, HCI's claim to standing to intervene. It is gratifying to watch a liberal group on the receiving end of standing rules that normally handicap conservatives in cases from California's failure to defend its prohibition on gay marriage to 0bama's serial lawlessness. If anything, HCI's case is far weaker than ours. Notwithstanding the law's intent, the San Diego sheriff has full operational discretion over the policy at issue. It could, in fact, have adopted a shall-issue policy much as, say, the El Paso County sheriff had adopted one in the '90s prior to Colorado's passage of a shall-issue concealed carry law. For the San Diego sheriff to choose not to defend it's own policy is very different for the executive branch of government's subverting the will of the legislature, or the people. It will be interesting to see if the standard suddenly gets lowered for HCI's benefit.

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