Did the Gay Marriage Ruling Just Legalize Concealed Carry Nationwide? Legal Experts Weigh In

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‘SCOTUS Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage Mandates Nationwide Concealed Carry Reciprocity.’

This was the title of a highly shared article over the weekend, where writer Bob Owens made the case that a SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage sets a precedent for all states to honor concealed carry permits. The argument followed like this:

1. The court used the 14th Amendment to establish that states cannot discriminate or deprive a citizen of rights.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. In the majority decision, the judges argue that “certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy” are now protected by Due Process:

3. Since concealed carry is a “personal choice” that must be licensed by the state, all states must now honor these permits as to not discriminate against gun owners who are expressing their “individual dignity and autonomy.”

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Owens continued:

My North Carolina concealed carry permit, for example, was recognized yesterday as being valid in 36 states, which just so happened to be the number of states in which gay marriage was legal yesterday. But 14 states did not recognize my concealed carry permit yesterday.

Today they must.

So did the Supreme Court just give the 2nd Amendment its biggest victory ever? We asked three constitutional experts to weigh in on the validity of this argument. Here is what they said.

Ilya Somin, Professor of Law George Mason University School of Law

Somin told IJReview:

“I think this argument may be plausible, but it is far from an open and shut case. In particular, the Supreme Court has not ruled that having a concealed carry permit is  a “personal choice central to individual dignity and autonomy.” It hasn’t even (so far) ruled that the right to conceal-carry (as opposed to the right to mere possession of arms in the home) is protected by the Second Amendment. The portion of the majority opinion that deals with state recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state is based on the notion that: “If States are required by the Constitution to issue marriage licenses to same-sex marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the justifications for refusing to recognize those marriages performed elsewhere are undermined.”

But, in the case of concealed carry permits, the Court has never ruled that states are required to issue them to their own citizens. I think such a ruling might well be required by the Second Amendment. But it hasn’t happened yet.”

Robert A. Levy, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at Cato Institute

Levy told IJReview:

“No. The Obergefell Court applied the Due Process Clause to “certain personal choices central to personal dignity and autonomy.”  I doubt that the Court would interpret that phrase to encompass a federal constitutional right to concealed carry.  Nor would the Court rule that any right enforceable under the laws of, say, 36 states must therefore be extended to the remaining states.”

Trevor Burrus, Research Fellow, Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies

Burris told IJReview:

“This is silly, and it represents not even a cursory understanding of either the Constitution or the judicial process. If proponents want to bring a case on concealed carry and cite the Obergefell opinion, they are free to, and judges will be equally free to reject their arguments. In no way does the gay marriage automatically convey a right to concealed carry in 50 states.

Moreover, by using these spurious arguments, advocates like this harm the overall movement for gun rights. Bad arguments can create bad precedents that could impair the expansion of the right to self defense.”

Experts agree that there would certainly have to be more steps taken on a judicial level to enact concealed carry as a right nationwide. But until then:

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What do you think?

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