With the recent reversal by the U.S. 9th Court of Appeals on “may-issue” in California, the Supreme Court may look at the right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in what’s known as the “Drake case” in the near future.
At the heart of the matter is John Drake, a Fredon, New Jersey, man who was denied a permit by the state to carry a concealed handgun.
Drake, owner of an ATM business, often carries large amounts of cash and applied for the permit for self-defense. After being denied under New Jersey’s strict “may-issue” doctrine, Drake filed a lawsuit citing violations of his civil rights.
New Jersey, with its population of 8.8 million, only has an estimated 32,000 concealed carry permits according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report. “Shall-issue” states like North Carolina and Virginia, with populations similar to New Jersey, have more than six times as many permit holders.
The lawsuit, properly known as Drake v. Jerejian and backed by the Second Amendment Foundation and the and Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, was handled earlier by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled against it. The SAF then placed the petition on the docket for the U.S. Supreme Court in January.
“The right to self-defense is sacrosanct,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “yet it has been disparaged and denied to all but an elite few in states like New Jersey. Individuals and families should not be deprived of the right to defend themselves and we intend to change that.”
The case is fast shaping up to become the next test in the courts on how the 2nd Amendment is interpreted.
With the recent reversal by the 9th Court in the similar “may-issue” denial of Edward Peruta last week, the lower courts are divided on how use of a gun for self-defense is protected by the 2nd Amendment, setting the stage for the Supreme Court to make a decision on the matter. And Drake may be that opportunity.
The Drake case has support by numerous organizations, including the NRA, Gun Owners of America, the Judicial Education Project and the Cato Institute, come out on the side of the 2nd Amendment. These groups were joined by 34 members of Congress and no fewer than 19 State Attorney Generals.
John Drake himself is shocked but pleased at the attention that his case is getting.
“This wide support for our United State Constitution and Bill of Rights, as compared to some state and court who think it is the ‘Bill of Needs’ – points out that Americans expect not only the Second Amendment to be obeyed and honored, but all of our rights to be obeyed and honored,” Drake said.
Alan Gura, a well-known gun-rights attorney who secured important victories for the 2nd Amendment in both the 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald cases, is at the helm for Drake.
Guns.com has reached out to Gura on the case and expect to have comment from him shortly.
The Supreme Court will decide their fall caseload Friday.