Supreme Court Rules New York’s Concealed Carry Gun Law Is Unconstitutional; Crimes Against Humanity

Supreme Court Rules New York’s Concealed Carry Gun Law Is Unconstitutional, Recognizes Right to Carry in Public

Justice Thomas: Law violates Constitution by preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves in public
By Matthew Vadum
June 23, 2022 Updated: June 23, 2022

The Supreme Court voted 6–3 on June 23 to strike down New York state’s draconian concealed carry gun permitting system on constitutional grounds, recognizing for the first time a constitutional right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.

The ruling is a sweeping victory for Second Amendment gun ownership rights and may help to undo restrictive gun control laws outside New York state, possibly including so-called red flag laws, which allow the confiscation of guns in certain circumstances with limited due process.

The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Supreme Court has been strengthening Second Amendment protections in recent years, and observers have said that the court’s six-member conservative supermajority could help expand gun ownership protections. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,” and in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), it held that this right “is fully applicable to the States.”

The ruling comes amid rising crime rates, activist demands to defund police departments, and a Biden administration push to strengthen gun control policies. A legislative package, introduced in the wake of a series of high-profile mass shootings, is moving forward in Congress.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) hailed the decision, calling it a “watershed win for good men and women all across America” and taking credit for the victory after “a decades-long fight the NRA has led.”

“The right to self-defense and to defend your family and loved ones should not end at your home,” LaPierre said.

President Joe Biden condemned the new ruling, which he said “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution and should deeply trouble us all.”

“I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line,” Biden said.

The Empire State’s gun permit law, as with laws in seven other states, generally requires an applicant to demonstrate “proper cause” in order to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun in public.

New York makes it a crime to possess a firearm without a license, whether inside or outside the home. An individual who wants to carry a firearm outside his home may obtain an unrestricted license to “have and carry” a concealed “pistol or revolver” if he can prove that “proper cause exists” for doing so, according to state law. An applicant satisfies the “proper cause” requirement only if he can “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community,” according to a 1980 ruling by the Supreme Court of New York in Klenosky v. New York City Police Department.

The specific issue before the court was whether the state’s denial of the petitioning individuals’ applications for concealed carry licenses for self-defense violates the U.S. Constitution.

Oral arguments in the case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, court file 20-843, an appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, were heard on Nov. 3.

Respondent Kevin Bruen heads the New York State Police. Founded in 1871, the lead petitioner, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, describes itself as “the state’s largest and nation’s oldest firearms advocacy organization,” and as the official NRA-affiliated state association in New York.

The majority opinion (pdf) was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who declared that New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the 14th Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,” Thomas wrote, before quoting Konigsberg v. State Bar of California (1961).

“In keeping with Heller, we hold that when the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. To justify its regulation, the government … must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’”

It makes no sense to deny Americans the ability to defend themselves outside their homes, he said.

“To confine the right to ‘bear’ arms to the home would nullify half of the Second Amendment’s operative protections. Moreover, confining the right to ‘bear’ arms to the home would make little sense given that self-defense is ‘the central component of the [Second Amendment] right itself,’” Thomas wrote, quoting the Heller opinion.

“After all, the Second Amendment guarantees an ‘individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,’ and confrontation can surely take place outside the home. … Many Americans hazard greater danger outside the home than in it.”

In a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that in 1791 when the Second Amendment was adopted, “there were no police departments, and many families lived alone on isolated farms or on the frontiers. If these people were attacked, they were on their own. It is hard to imagine the furor that would have erupted if the Federal Government and the States had tried to take away the guns that these people needed for protection. Today, unfortunately, many Americans have good reason to fear that they will be victimized if they are unable to protect themselves. And today, no less than in 1791, the Second Amendment guarantees their [rights].”

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, which Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined.

“In 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms. Since the start of this year (2022), there have been 277 reported mass shootings—an average of more than one per day. Gun violence has now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents. Many States have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds. The Court today severely burdens States’ efforts to do so.”

Matthew Vadum

CONTRIBUTOR
Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist and a recognized expert in left-wing activism.
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Crimes against humanity

Democrats Silent as Republicans Rip Into Secret Royalty Checks to Fauci, Hundreds of NIH Scientists

By Mark Tapscott

 May 11, 2022 Updated: May 11, 2022

Top Democratic leaders with oversight of the National Institutes for Health (NIH) are keeping quiet about the $350 million in secret payments to agency leaders like Dr. Anthony Fauci and hundreds of its scientists.

The Epoch Times received no responses from multiple requests to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) for comment on a report by a non-profit government watchdog estimating that Fauci, former NIH director Francis Collins, and hundreds of NIH scientists got as much as $350 million in undisclosed royalty payments from pharmaceutical and other private firms between 2010 and 2020.

The revelations from Open the Books, which were first reported on May 9 by The Epoch Times, are based on thousands of pages of documents the group obtained from NIH in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in federal court. The suit was filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of Open the Books.

Open the Books is a Chicago-based nonprofit government watchdog that uses the federal and state freedom of information laws to obtain and then post on the internet trillions of dollars in spending at all levels of government.

Epoch Times Photo
House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) speaks at a hearing in Washington, on June 23, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Pallone is chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, while Murray is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Their panels are the main congressional oversight tools for NIH. A spokesman for NIH also did not respond to multiple requests from The Epoch Times for comment.

Because NIH hands out $32 billion in research grants to medical institutions and researchers annually the undisclosed royalty payments, which are usually for work on a new drug, may indicate the presence of massive and widespread conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts, both of which violate federal ethics laws and regulations.

Collins resigned as NIH director in December 2021 after 12 years of leading the world’s largest public health agency.

Fauci is the longtime head of NIH’s National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

Lane is the deputy director of NIAID, under Fauci.

Epoch Times Photo
NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins holds up a model of the coronavirus as he testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee looking into the budget estimates for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the state of medical research, on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 26, 2021. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)

Fauci received 23 royalty payments during the period, while Collins was paid 14. Clifford Lane, Fauci’s deputy, got eight payments, according to Open the Books.

While Pallone and Murray were silent on the secret NIH payments, Republicans expressed outrage at what they see as serious conflicts of interest.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told The Epoch Times, “the NIH is a dark money pit. They covered up grants for gain of function research in Wuhan, so it is no surprise that they are now refusing to release critical data regarding allegations of millions in royalty fees paid to in-house scientists like Fauci.

“If the NIH wants to keep spending taxpayer dollars, they have a responsibility to provide transparency.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “This report is disturbing and if it is true that some of our country’s top scientists have conflict of interest problems, the American people deserve to have all the answers.”

Epoch Times Photo
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asks questions during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 21, 2021. (Ken Cedeno/AFP via Getty Images)

Similarly, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) called for an investigation, noting that, “Of course it’s a direct conflict of interest for scientists like Anthony Fauci to rake in $350 million in royalties from third-parties who benefit from federal taxpayer-funded grants.

“Anthony Fauci is a millionaire that has gotten rich off taxpayer dollars. He is a prime example of the bloated federal bureaucracy. This royalty system should be examined to ensure it isn’t making matters worse.”

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) said the latest revelations are further evidence that Fauci should be fired.

“Fauci and the NIH have repeatedly abused the trust of the American people.

“From lying about gain of function research to walking back claims about COVID-19, this latest allegation is just another nail in the coffin of the integrity of our public health system.

“Dr. Fauci should have been fired a long time ago, and that remains true today,” Carter told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) is seen during a hearing in Washington in a file photograph. (Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images)

Mike Howell, a veteran congressional counsel and investigator who is now senior adviser on government relations at the Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times he thinks NIH could be in for trouble on the Hill in 2023 if voters return Republicans to majority control of the Senate and House in November’s mid-term elections.

“This Congress has not only failed to perform any serious oversight of the Biden administration, but is in many cases complicit in covering for them.

“When new majorities take over next over year, they will have a mandate to get to the bottom of scandals like this.”

Another Heritage expert, Douglas Badger, pointed to the need for a systematic re-examination of federal ethics statutes and an oversight investigation of the NIH royalties by Congress.

“Government scientists who are collecting royalties in connection with work they did in the course of their official duties must disclose this information to the public. The potential for conflict of interest is obvious,” Badger said.

Epoch Times Photo
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) building is seen in Washington, on July 22, 2019. (Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images)

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should revise its ethics guidance to require such disclosure, federal agencies should respond fully and promptly to freedom of information act requests concerning these royalties, and Congress should conduct an oversight investigation to assure that royalties paid by private companies to government scientists do not compromise the integrity of executive branch agencies.”

Badger is a senior fellow in Heritage’s Center for Health and Welfare Policy.

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, also pointed to the potential seriousness of the apparent conflicts of interest, and the need for a congressional probe.

“The obvious conflict of interest for the public health scientist recipients of the hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments calls into question who they have been working for,” Manning asked.

“Congress must demand a full, non-redacted accounting of these payments along with the projects these public employees have been involved in and stakeholder interests in those projects.

“At a time when the truthfulness of public officials like Dr. Fauci, have come under intense scrutiny, it is critical for these relationships to be fully disclosed,” he said.

In a related development earlier this week, Rep. Brett Guthrie told a meeting of an energy and commerce subcommittee examining Biden’s 2023 budget proposal for HHS that the department that includes NIH needs much more congressional oversight.

“Oversight is especially important given the huge increases in funding requested by the Biden administration. The HHS budget before us today calls for a 12 percent increase in discretionary spending at HHS for Fiscal Year 2023,” Guthrie told the subcommittee.

“The budget specifically gives more than a $6 billion combined boost in funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health, both of which have come under fire recently over controversial masking guidance and COVID-19 research funded by NIH using American taxpayer dollars,” Guthrie continued.

“We need to hold NIH accountable and ensure taxpayer dollars are not going to labs engaging in risky gain-of-function research and ensure researchers are transparent about how they are spending taxpayer funded research grants,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Mark Tapscott

CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT
Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times.
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