The high court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, a 2008 opinion invalidating Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban because the Second Amendment protects “the core lawful purpose of self-defense.” Heller found that this constitutional right includes “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” In another gun case two years later, the supreme court again overturned an attempt by local governments to restrict Second Amendment rights in McDonald v. Chicago.
Currently the high court has another case before it which has created widespread interest and speculation by constitutional scholars and lawyers. The case of Drake v. Jerejian arose from a challenge to New Jersey’s handgun permit law. New Jersey requires anyone who wants to carry a handgun in public for self-defense to first demonstrate “a justifiable need” to do so.
The record before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals showed that New Jersey has granted this permit for 0.02% of applicants.
The plaintiff’s central argument in Drake v. Jerejian is that Second Amendment freedoms are violated when the government can force a citizen to provide a reason that must be approved by the state before the right may be exercised. In short, the plaintiff argued that if one has to justify the right to carry a gun, then it is no longer a right.
The court’s decision in Drake v. Jerejian will be another important precedent in the supreme court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence.