Gov. Matt Bevin has joined 15 states in a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief supporting Second Amendment rights, in response to New York City’s restrictions on handguns kept for self-defense.
The brief was filed in response to the costly and restrictive “premises permit” required by the city to own a personal handgun for self-defense. The permit prohibits taking a weapon outside the home for any purpose other than to practice at a New York City shooting range and entirely prohibits leaving the state with the weapon. The costly “carry” permit is required to remove the weapon from the home for other purposes and is difficult to obtain.
“Citizens have the Constitutional right to ‘keep and bear Arms,’ and New York’s restrictive regulations set a dangerous precedent that heavily restricts this right and prevents responsible gun owners from protecting themselves outside of their home,” said Bevin General Counsel Steve Pitt. “Kentucky has a fundamental interest in ensuring that the Second Amendment is preserved for our citizens and that the Commonwealth is not harmed by the liberal policies of other states.”
The 16-state coalition urged the Supreme Court to review the case and provide clear guidance on the scope of the Second Amendment. The brief also calls upon the court to decide that self-defense is not limited to the home.
Kentucky joined the other states in arguing that while city and state governments have an interest in public safety and crime prevention, New York City offered no evidence that demonstrated its regulations actually enhance public safety and crime prevention. In fact, the brief argues that the restrictive regulatory scheme has the opposite effect by arbitrarily limiting a gun owner’s ability to become proficient with his or her own weapon.
The brief also points out the effect of the regulations on hunting and shooting sports, which could harm the tourism industry in states like Kentucky. “New York’s regulatory scheme discriminates against interstate commerce because it ‘deprives out-of-state businesses of access to a local market’ by forbidding its citizens from hunting and patronizing ranges outside the State with their own guns,” the states wrote.
Gov. Bevin was joined by the Governor of Mississippi in signing the brief. Fourteen states joined the brief through their Attorneys General, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
A copy of the brief is available here.