Tim Schmidt

As the U.S. Supreme Court convenes its fall session, few cases will be more important to millions than a Second Amendment case that centers on affirming the right of Americans to protect themselves at all times, whether they are inside or outside of their homes.

The court will hear arguments on Wednesday in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which is challenging an antiquated and unconstitutional New York state law that requires residents to demonstrate “proper cause” in order to receive concealed carry licenses. New York is one of eight states — California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island being the others — that still have state laws preventing responsible people from protecting themselves from criminals when outside of their homes.

The irony should not be lost that even as these states have some of the most restrictive anti-gun laws in the country, many of their cities, such as Newark, Syracuse, San Bernardino, and Baltimore, still have some of the highest murder rates in the country as well. Even in areas such as Washington, D.C., where concealed carry is ostensibly allowed, government officials have made it exceedingly difficult to obtain a permit, with residents complaining of lengthy delays. This despite the city seeing a 9% increase in homicides over the last year and record numbers of residents seeking to protect themselves.

That’s why the stakes could not be higher for the millions of responsible, law-abiding people who simply want to protect themselves and their families no matter where they are.

Countless have already made their position heard. Over the last year, nearly 5 million new gun owners have joined the more than 100 million who already own guns for self-defense. Similarly, the number of concealed carry permit holders has also reached new heights, with over 21.5 million now legally allowed to carry. This is a 48% increase in just the last five years according to a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center. These numbers are even more striking when you consider that 21 states have now passed constitutional carry and therefore no longer have specific data since permits are not required in their state.

Recent public opinion surveys lend further evidence to growing support for self-protection. The CPRC report cites a Rasmussen poll, for example, which found that by a 68%-22% margin, people “feel safer in a neighborhood where guns are allowed.”

This is because more and more people recognize that with crime on the rise, and as helpful and supportive as many of our police officers can be, they cannot be our families’ personal bodyguards.

There’s an old saying in the concealed carry community: “When seconds count, the police are minutes away.” Consider that there are roughly 2.12 sworn police officers for every 1,000 U.S. citizens. How on earth can we expect them to be right next to us when some criminal decides that we’re their next victim?

That is why organizations such as the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, elected leaders, and concerned Americans have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court making clear that “the right to carry outside the home is within the core of the right to ‘keep and bear arms’ protected by the Second Amendment.” New York’s anti-gun law violates this right to bear arms under the Constitution.

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It’s also why we remain outspoken in support of national concealed carry reciprocity legislation in Congress. It’s more important than ever that the responsibly armed people who have chosen to be their family’s first line of defense are supported rather than criminalized.

Responsible, law-abiding people have stepped forward and made clear that they want to protect themselves and their families at all times, no matter what state they live in or whether they are inside or outside their homes. They have that right under the U.S. Constitution, and it’s critical for the Supreme Court to affirm that.

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