Crime once again is on the rise in America. According to recent figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, crimes against property are up a staggering 12 percent from last year; violent crime even more -- 15 percent. Citizens in many of our country’s largest metropolitan areas increasingly are becoming victims of gun-toting criminals, even as liberal mayors, governors, and state legislators continue their efforts to undermine the Second Amendment rights of those very citizens.
One might think that the end of America’s two-decade long decline in crime might serve to justify the need to strengthen – not weaken – the ability of law-abiding citizens to arm themselves defensively in order to fight back against armed criminals. Not so; and even learned federal judges are not immune from succumbing to the childish notion that the best way to protect citizens is to disarm them. Take Third Circuit federal appeals court Judge Ruggero Aldisert.
Writing recently for the Third Circuit in Drake v. Jerejian, Judge Aldisert ruled that bureaucrats working for the Commonwealth of New Jersey may summarily deny citizens the right to protect themselves against armed criminals -- notwithstanding the language in the Second Amendment guaranteeing individuals that right, and as reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court in two landmark decisions in 2008 and 2010.
Judge Aldisert’s misguided opinion is awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court whether it will hear the case (which hopefully it will). The issue at stake is vital – whether a citizen of the United States and of the Commonwealth of New Jersey, can defend himself or herself with a firearm, without having to submit themselves to the arbitrary decision of a local government official. Specifically, the question is whether New Jersey’s handgun permit law unconstitutionally restricts citizens’ Second Amendment rights – first, by forcing them to obtain permission to carry a concealed firearm from the local police chief; and second, by requiring them to demonstrate to the local government a “justifiable need” for carrying a concealed firearm.