What is the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense worth if you can’t carry your guns?
Officials in Cherokee County, Georgia, including Probate Judge Keith Wood, apparently believe containing the spread of COVID-19 requires the government to trample on law-abiding residents’ Second Amendment right to defend themselves.
The judge ordered the county not to process concealed-carry permit applications in the name of public health. Two gun-rights groups sued, naming the county, the governor, the public safety commissioner, and the judge in the lawsuit.
The Second Amendment Foundation, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, issued a press release:
FPC [Firearms Policy Coalition] President Brandon Combs concurred, stating, “The Constitution explicitly protects the fundamental human right to bear arms, especially for self-defense. Governments cannot eliminate the right of law-abiding adults to carry handguns for self-defense in public, which is all the more pertinent in these troubled times. As the Supreme Court has already explained, the Constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms is especially important for self-defense in case of confrontation, and individuals must be allowed to exercise their rights outside their home.”
“The natural right to armed self-defense does not cease to exist when a person steps over the threshold of their home and into the outside world,” observed Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. “By their elimination of access to Georgia Weapons Carry Licenses, Judge Keith Wood and Cherokee County have destroyed the right to carry handguns outside the home for Lisa Walters and others like her. This is not acceptable and shows the inherent and terminally unconstitutional defects of the State’s license requirements.”
Sheriffs in California and North Carolina tried to violate residents’ Second Amendment right, using the pandemic as an excuse. Wake Forest County Sheriff Gerald Baker shut down the concealed-carry application process but backtracked after a backlash.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tried to close gun stores but also backed down. He claimed gun stores, like strip clubs, weren’t essential services. Californians who seek to buy guns must do so through federally licensed dealers. Shutting down these dealers would have meant residents had no legal away to acquire firearms.