The case challenges New York’s permit laws, which prohibit concealed carry without a permit – but deny permits unless the applicant can demonstrate a “special” need to carry a gun (which does not include a general desire for self-defense, according to state courts). As a result, ordinary citizens are functionally prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
NFGR’s amicus brief argues that the Second Amendment is NOT a second-class right — as state legislatures, lower federal courts, and even the Supreme Court itself have treated it — and that the right to public carry is protected by the Second Amendment as understood by the Founders.
National Foundation for Gun Rights Backs Michigan Mom’s Legal Defense
Loveland, CO – The National Foundation for Gun Rights announced today they will be backing the legal defense team of 32-year-old Theresa Bragg, a single, African-American mother of four children who is being prosecuted for defending herself with a firearm.
On May 2, 2021, Bragg’s home in River Rouge, MI, was invaded by her abusive ex-boyfriend, John Leverette – a gang member with a long criminal history, whose violence had sent her to the hospital multiple times, and who had fentanyl in his system at the time.
Leverette barged into Bragg’s home without knocking or permission and threatened to kill her. Terrified for her life, Bragg retrieved her lawfully owned firearm and fired 17 rounds in self-defense, killing him on site and ending the threat against her life.
Bragg is currently being held without bail and is facing charges of first-degree murder with premeditation.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights is contributing $10,000 to help fund Bragg’s legal team, and hopes to do more.
“This is exactly who the Second Amendment is for – a single mom in a crime-ridden city with an abusive ex breathing down her neck,” said Dudley Brown, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights. “The Second Amendment exists so that when that gangbanger ex bursts through her door and threatens her life, she has options – she doesn’t have to die.”
Brown continued, “Thanks to Theresa’s foresight in arming herself so she could protect her family from all threats of violence, Theresa is alive today. The National Foundation for Gun Rights is proud to stand with her and help fund her legal defense. We are asking our members to step up and help Theresa as well.”
The National Foundation for Gun Rights is a 503(c)(3) organization that exists to expand pro-gun precedents and defend gun owners in the courts.
Father Peter Raleigh is the priest of Holy Innocents Catholic Church in southern Colorado, and is a staunch Second Amendment advocate and concealed handgun permit holder.
Fr. Raleigh reached out to us after being targeted by a local gun-grabbing District Attorney — for simply holding a gun!
It all started when a group of woke leftist snowflakes got “triggered” by Fr. Raleigh’s peacefully exercising his Second Amendment right to bear arms while visiting a local restaurant.
Next thing you know, Fr. Raleigh’s in handcuffs — and he was slapped with a disorderly conduct charge of displaying a gun “in a manner calculated to alarm,” despite zero evidence to support the charge.
NFGR & RMGO gave financial assistance towards my defense against a bogus charge of a firearms violation that had no merit. The case was dismissed on April 28th of this year. It was due to the generous donation of time and financial aid that I was able to overcome these false allegations. This experience has only confirmed that our Second Amendment rights are under siege. Had NFGR & RMGO not intervened, the outcome could have been different. I fully support and recommend that NFGR & RMGO be given the full support and backing by all those who love America and her freedoms.
In closing, I would like to end with a passage from Psalm 42. I pray this psalm daily at Holy Mass.
“Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight against a faithless people; Rescue me from the wicked and deceitful man.
According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, there is no Second Amendment right to carry a gun beyond your front door.
The anti-gun court ruled in March that open carry is not protected by the Second Amendment in Young v. Hawaii. Four dissenting judges ripped the ruling, accusing the Ninth Circuit of deciding that “the Second Amendment does not mean what it says.”
But the ruling, should it be allowed to stand, has consequences that go far beyond just open carry.
Combined with a similar 2016 ruling that the Second Amendment does not protect concealed carry either, 20% of Americans and four Constitutional Carry States are now subject to the jurisprudence of the nation’s largest and most overturned appellate court which will not protect the right to “bear” arms.
How on earth did a federal court reach such a stunningly inaccurate conclusion, and what does this mean for gun owners?
The answer is buried in a radical interpretation of British law, and how the court used a case out of Hawaii as a means to resurrect the concept of “king’s sovereignty” in 21st century America.
How the case got started
In 2012, Hawaii resident George Young sued both his county and the state of Hawaii after being denied a carry permit twice by his local chief of police.
Under Hawaii law, citizens must demonstrate urgency or need to carry a weapon and be engaged in protecting life and property just to apply for an open carry permit (concealed carry permit qualifications are similar). According to local regulations in Young’s county (as well as under statewide general practice), “engaged in protecting life and property” limits open carry to security guards and private detectives.
Assuming a citizen who is not in the security industry is somehow able to qualify to apply for an open carry permit, it is entirely at the discretion of the county chief of police whether he gets one or not.
Young sued, arguing that his Second Amendment rights had been violated. Federal district court dismissed his claims, saying that the state law doesn’t “implicate activity protected by the Second Amendment.”
Young appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and a three-judge panel initially ruled in his favor. The full Ninth Circuit, however, agreed to rehear en banc, and on March 24, 2021, reversed the panel decision and ruled that there is no Second Amendment right to carry openly.
“No right to carry arms openly in public”
Perhaps most shocking thing about the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is how they reached it.
They did NOT rely on the clear text of the Second Amendment which protects the right to “bear” arms.
Instead, the Ninth Circuit ruled as if the Bill of Rights were never ratified and we’re still subjects of the British Crown.
The en banc ruling dove deep back in time into English gun regulations dating back to 13th century under King Edward I (known as “the Hammer of the Scots” for his tyrannical attempts to conquer Scotland, including the killing of Scottish patriot leader William Wallace), as well as early American legal treatises, state laws, and court cases in an attempt to “prove” that a de facto ban on public carry is consistent with the Second Amendment.
Through a combination of careful selection of sources, logical leaps, and fact-twisting, the opinion (drafted by a Bush-appointed judge) concluded the following:
Landmark Second Amendment cases Heller and McDonald establish “only a narrow individual right” to keep a handgun at home.
Counterpoint: While Heller dealt specifically with a handgun ban in the home, it (and later McDonald) established that self-defense is an individual right to defend one’s person, and in no way did Heller imply that you only have that right while you’re at home.
There has never been a historical assumption that individuals have an “unfettered right” to carry weapons in public – and in fact, the government has every right to regulate and even ban public carry.
Counterpoint: The text of the Second Amendment itself stands as evidence that an “unfettered right” to public carry is exactly what the founders intended.
There is a difference between the right to carry in public, and the right to defend your home or workplace. The home is sacred, but defending the public square is different.
Counterpoint: The Second Amendment is an individual right, not a corporate (read: militia) right only, and it protects your right to defend yourself and your loved ones wherever the need may arise.
It is government’s duty to protect citizens in public. “The king who cannot guarantee the security of his subjects—from threats internal or external—will not likely remain sovereign for long.” (Editor’s note: he didn’t.)
Let’s look at that last statement more closely.
The court pointed out that under English law (not the U.S. Constitution), carrying weapons in public was an affront to the King – the equivalent of a vote of no confidence in his ability and willingness to protect his subjects.
As if that were a bad or factually inaccurate statement, they essentially argued that you don’t have the right to public carry, because the government or “king” has the primary right to defend you in the public square, and how dare you question their ability to do so?
This argument was eviscerated by the dissent, which pointed out that the entire point of the Revolution and subsequent U.S. Constitution was to completely break ties with the idea of “king’s sovereignty,” replacing it with “We the People”:
“For an English subject to ‘carr[y] arms publicly . . . as a vote of no confidence in the king’s ability to maintain [the public peace]’ would be an affront to his sovereign. But for an American citizen to carry arms publicly could be no such thing. The American citizen, in contrast with the English subject, is a constituent part of a free and sovereign people, whom state governments serve as agents.
“Indeed, the ‘principal object’ of our Constitution was not to grant ‘new rights’ from government to the people, but rather to ‘secur[e]’ against the government ‘those rights’ we already possess by nature.
“It is thus emphatically the prerogative of the American citizen to give a ‘vote of no confidence’ in state governments’ exercise of those powers delegated from the sovereign people themselves.”
Moreover, the government regularly fails to protect the public square. Poor police response times combined with “gun free” zones have only left citizens vulnerable to attack in public.
The dissenting judges made short work of the poor historical analysis of the majority opinion:
“The Second Amendment’s text, history, and structure, and the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Heller, all point squarely to the same conclusion: Armed self-defense in public is at the very core of the Second Amendment right…the Second Amendment safeguards both the right to keep a firearm and the right to bear—or to carry—that firearm…The right to armed self-defense—both by keeping a gun at home and by carrying one elsewhere—lies at the heart of the Second Amendment.”
To sum up: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with King George over our own Constitution!
What does this mean for gun owners?
Until overturned by the Supreme Court, this ruling, together with the court’s 2016 decision, means that in the nine states in the Ninth Circuit, there is no judicial protection for the right to carry in public, whether concealed or open.
In other words, gun owners who live in Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii are at the mercy of their states’ gun grabbers.
Lawyers for Mr. Young have already indicated they intend to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court. When they do, the National Foundation for Gun Rights stands ready to push for the overturning of this decision and the protection of the Second Amendment right to bear arms as well as to keep them.
One of the Left’s favorite ways to attack the Second Amendment is by going after the First Amendment.
Especially the First Amendment rights (and privacy rights) of citizen lobbying organizations.
The First Amendment is what protects our ability to effectively fight for our Second Amendment rights without exposing gun owners and citizen-lobbyists to harassment from “cancel culture” bullies, anti-gun employers, neighbors, activist politicians, and bureaucrats.
This is why the National Foundation for Gun Rights recently joined a coalition of freedom-loving organizations in filing an amicus “friend of the court” brief in a landmark free speech case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
This case, AFPF v. Becerra, began when Vice President Kamala Harris – then Attorney General of California – began demanding the names and addresses of top donors from nonprofits who were fundraising in California, including sister organization the National Association for Gun Rights.
The California Attorney General’s office claims they need confidential donor information to help them “police charitable fraud” – which is bureaucrat-speak for “just because.”
As previously noted, this is a common tactic used by Leftist government officials to crack down on Second Amendment activism and lobbying. Disclosing gun owners’ personal information and donor history would open them up to public backlash, crackdowns, and harassment from government regulators.
AFPF v. Becerra seeks to overturn the California Attorney General’s regulatory demands for confidential donor information. When the case was first appealed to the Supreme Court in 2019, NFGR joined NAGR and a number of freedom-minded allies in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take the case.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on January 8, 2021.
NFGR’s joint amicus brief was filed on March 1, arguing that privacy and anonymity are key elements of our First Amendment freedoms of speech and association.
Below are some key excerpts:
“This case involves a real threat by the California government to coerce the disclosure of the identity of large donors, putting them at risk of retaliation from either the public or partisan office holders. Both mob and ruler are dangerous to dissenters, and the principle of anonymity protects Americans from both.”
“The California Attorney General would prefer this Court to operate based on some form of judicial presumption that governmental powers are never abused, that Attorneys General engage in nothing but evenhanded administration of the law, that politicians elected or appointed to high office cease to act as politicians, and that state office holders would never use their position to advance their own political agendas, reward their friends, or punish their enemies. Yet, adopting such an assumption would require this Court to disregard both history and current reality.”
“The Framers enumerated these five First Amendment rights to protect Americans in the exercise of certain rights that the signers of the Declaration of Independence declared to be unalienable because they were bestowed upon man by the Creator.”
“The American principle of anonymity, restricting what government officials can force us to reveal about our activities to them or to others, is constitutionally grounded in First amendment freedoms of press and association.”
“[The] principles of anonymity are not second-order concerns that can be disregarded or suppressed, but instead are standards indispensable to both the protection of individual liberty and the preservation of our republic.”
The Supreme Court has not yet set a date for oral argument, but our legal team will provide updates as the case moves.
Earlier this year, James Bennetts contacted the National Foundation for Gun Rights for help with a blocked gun purchase.
On August 10, 2020, Jim Bennetts attempted to purchase a gun in Florida, his state of residence, only to have the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FLDE) hold up his background check.
Jim contacted FLDE, only to be informed they were waiting for arrest records from a previous misdemeanor – one that should not disqualify him from purchasing a gun.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that Florida law enforcement should only have been looking at how the case was actually decided. The police records aren’t a conviction and shouldn’t impact whether he’s allowed to purchase a gun.
NFGR hired a lawyer to send a letter to FLDE demanding they release his background check.
In a matter of days, Jim received word from FLDE and his gun dealer that he was cleared to purchase his gun!
Here’s what Jim had to say:
“Thank you so very much. I’m so glad that there are organizations like NFGR who are willing to help defend the rights of people like me. It gave me peace of mind to know someone was on my side to help fight the nameless faceless bureaucracy.”
We were able to hire representation for Jim thanks to the generous contributions of gun owners all over the country to our Gun Owners’ Defense Fund.
Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to our Gun Owners Defense Fund so we can help more gun owners like Jim!
The National Foundation for Gun Rights Inc. (NFGR) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to NFGR are tax-deductible for income, gift, and estate taxes. Nothing in this communication is intended to constitute legal or tax advice.