Dear Supreme Court of the United States, pay attention to what just happened in Pennsylvania (fitting, since Pennsylvania played such an important role in the founding of America and was the birthplace of American freedom.)  Last week, their state supreme court ruled thelawful exercise of your Second Amendment rights does not make you a second-class citizen.

National Reviewhas the context of this huge decision:

For the last two years, federal courts — including, sadly, the Supreme Court — have endorsed a legal regime where police can use even the lawful exercise of gun rights as a pretext for the violation of other constitutional rights, principally our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

A federal circuit-court judge actually typed these words:

The majority decision today necessarily leads to the conclusion that individuals who elect to carry firearms forego other constitutional rights, like the Fourth Amendment right to have law enforcement officers “knock-and-announce” before forcibly entering homes. . . . Likewise, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that individuals who choose to carry firearms necessarily face greater restriction on their concurrent exercise of other constitutional rights, like those protected by the First Amendment.

In plain English, this means gun owners must choose: carry their weapon and lose the full protections of the rest of the Bill of Rights, or never pick it up and enjoy your other rights. For people who live in high-crime areas, people who are often poor and sometimes nonwhite, this presents a wholly unacceptable dilemma. The people who have the most urgent need for self-defense find themselves facing the greater risk of the loss of their liberties.

You can see why this ruling is such a big deal.  They “find no justification for the notion that a police officer may infer criminal activity merely from an individual’s possession of a concealed firearm in public.” 

This is exactly right, especially since possessing a concealed firearm in public is our Constitutional right.

“Unless a police officer has prior knowledge that a specific individual is not permitted to carry a concealed firearm, and absent articulable facts supporting reasonable suspicion that a firearm is being used or intended to be used in a criminal manner, there simply is no justification for the conclusion that the mere possession of a firearm, where it lawfully may be carried, is alone suggestive of criminal activity.”

This feels like it should be common sense, but I’m thankful that the Pennsylvania courts are finally making it official.  

Image Credit: Wikimedia
Hat Tip: National Review’s David French

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.