New York gun restrictions ‘violate the Second Amendment,’ Landry and other AGs write to U.S. Supreme Court

By: - February 4, 2021 6:26 am
Jeff Landry sues ULM med school over vaccine mandate

Attorney General Jeff Landry and elected officials from other state sued over President Joe Biden’s decision to pause oil and gas leases.(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined 22 other attorneys general in a brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of two New York men who were told by a licensing official that they had not demonstrated a sufficient need to carry a firearm for self defense outside their home.  In 2008, in a majority opinion written by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled that the Second Amendment  grants an individual a right to possess a firearm at home and to use it for self defense.

Plaintiffs Robert Nash and Brandon Koch are now asking the court to declare that the Constitution confers a right to carry a weapon for self defense purposes outside the home.  As the men who were denied a concealed-carry license say in their petition to the Supreme Court, “For more than a decade since (the 2008 ruling) numerous courts of appeals have squarely divided on this critical question: whether the Second Amendment allows the government to deprive ordinary law-abiding citizens of the right to possess and carry a handgun outside the home.”

The brief that Landry signed on to argues that “permitting law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in self-defense outside the home respects their fundamental rights and deters violent crime.” It also says that New York and other states’ “subjective-issue permitting regimes” — which “require an applicant demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession” — are an infringement on an individual’s rights.

“Every American has a God-given, fundamental right to self-defense,” Landry said in a statement. “Whether a person is inside or outside their home has no bearing on that right. These restrictive policies decrease public safety and violate the Second Amendment.” 

However, Hannah Shearer, the litigation director at Giffords Law Center, said in a Wednesday interview that the attorneys general “have the law wrong and the facts wrong.” The law center, led by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head during a 2011 assassination attempt, promotes strong gun control laws across the country.

“The Constitution does not require concealed carry permits for everyone, regardless of criminal history and signs of dangerousness,” Shearer said. “And the AGs will help the cause of armed extremists and insurrectionists if they succeed in blocking law enforcement from making informed judgments about concealed carry permits.”

Shearer said local law enforcement — not state politicians — should make the final call about who should be issued a permit to carry a loaded gun in public.

“Louisiana has the fourth-highest gun death rate of any state,” Shearer said. “And we would urge AG Landry to focus on solving gun violence within his borders instead of seeking to undermine gun safety nationwide.”

Landry, a vocal conservative, has recently publicized multiple “friend of the court” briefs he’s signed the state of Louisiana onto.  In December, in response to the New York Attorney General Letitia James filing suit against the National Rifle Association, Landry and 15 other attorneys general filed a suit against James, accusing her of discriminating against the NRA “because she doesn’t like its members’ political views.”  Also in December, Landry joined other Republican AGs in sending briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court questioning the integrity of the presidential election in Pennsylvania.

When a 9-year-old Jefferson Parish boy was suspended from school when a BB gun in his bedroom was visible during a virtual class, multiple officials across the state called the Jefferson Parish School Board’s punishment excessive. Landry took a different tack and claimed the “child’s Second Amendment rights may have been violated.” 

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.