Birmingham, Ala. – On Friday, July 9, the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (“ACLL”) filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief (available here) in the United States Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen, asking the Court to defend Americans’ constitutional right to carry handguns for self-defense.
This case arises from New York, which forbids the open carrying of firearms and refuses to give concealed carry permits to regular citizens except for “proper cause.” Former United States Solicitor General Paul Clement asked the Supreme Court to take the case to consider whether New York’s denial of concealed carry permits to his clients violated the Second Amendment, and the Supreme Court agreed.
Engaging in an originalist analysis of the Second Amendment, ACLL filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that the Second Amendment allows every American to carry arms for self-defense. As to the more specific issue of concealed carry, ACLL argued that although the historical record is largely silent, a state may not prohibit concealed carry if doing so would cut off the average citizen’s right to carry firearms for self-defense, as New York has done by prohibiting both open and concealed carry. Finally, ACLL argued that the Second Amendment should enjoy just as much protection as the First Amendment. In that context, the Supreme Court has held that the government may regulate the time, place, and manner of speech only if the regulation leaves open ample alternative channels of communication. In the same way, ACLL argued that if the State regulates the manner in which citizens carry arms, it must leave ample alternative means for citizens to carry firearms for self-defense.
Matthew Clark, ACLL’s Executive Director, explained, “The core purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect the individual right to keep and carry firearms for self-defense in case of confrontation. Thus, even if the government may impose reasonable restrictions on the means of carrying pistols, it may not abridge the right altogether, as New York has done.” Clark continued, “If the Court adopts our position, then it would protect not only the rights of New Yorkers, but also the rights of Alabamians. The right to self-defense does not evaporate if a person has no choice but to conceal a pistol, such as carrying it under a coat in the winter or carrying it in his car when he drives. We hope that this case will settle that issue once and for all.”
ACLL is a conservative nonprofit legal organization based in Birmingham, Alabama, and it is the litigation arm of the Alabama Policy Institute. For more information, visit ACLL’s website at www.alabamalawandliberty.org.