ATTORNEY GENERAL PATRICK MORRISEY FILES BRIEF IN GUN CASE PENDING BEFORE U.S. SUPREME COURT
CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today announced that West Virginia has joined with 19 other states this week in filing a “friend of the court” brief in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit concerns the constitutionality of a New York statute that limits an individual’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The lawsuit, Kachalsky v. Cacace, challenges a New York law that requires a person to show a particular need to obtain a permit to carry a firearm outside the home. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, ruling that the Second Amendment’s core protections do not extend outside of the home. Attorney General Morrisey said the Second Circuit’s decision is troublesome because it concludes the Second Amendment’s protections end at a person’s front door.
In 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the private ownership of handguns. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects a law-abiding individual’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Heller recognizes that a law-abiding individual has the right to bear arms for self-defense. Under the text of the Second Amendment itself, this right necessarily extends outside of the home,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We have the right to ‘keep and bear arms’; one ‘keeps’ arms inside the home, but one ‘bears’ arms outside of the home. Any ruling to the contrary simply ignores this plain language.”
Attorney General Morrisey said the Second Circuit’s decision in the Kachalsky case runs counter to the Supreme Court’s instruction in the Heller case that the text, history, and tradition of a law should determine whether it passes Second Amendment muster.
“The Kachalsky decision affects West Virginians because the Second Circuit’s interpretation of the scope of the Second Amendment was incorrect, and that decision could impact future court decisions. Such a narrow view of the Second Amendment will chip away at this core constitutional right,” Morrisey said. “The Second Circuit’s decision also affects West Virginians in a more narrow sense, particularly when it comes to West Virginia’s reciprocity agreements with other states. The ability of other States to restrict law-abiding citizens to carry weapons outside of the home means that the permits issued in West Virginia will not be recognized in those States.”