Arizona and 22 other states are asking the highest court in the nation to weigh in on gun rights after a New Jersey resident was denied a permit to carry a firearm outside of his home.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not heard a case concerning the Second Amendment for nearly a decade, according to USA TODAY. However, last week, the court agreed to hear a case concerning the transportation of firearms outside city limits.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and 22 other state legal officials are now asking the court to take up this second case, Rogers v. Grewal, out of New Jersey.
While the case doesn't impact Arizona directly, Brnovich said it's important to stand up for the broader issue of Second Amendment rights.
What is Rogers v. Grewal?
New Jersey resident Thomas Rogers requested a permit to carry a firearm in public. According to court records, he admits he “does not face any special danger to his life.”
New Jersey is among the states that are considered "may issue states." According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, states with these laws give the issuing authority the right to decide if a concealed weapons permit is merited.
Arizona is not a "may issue state" and in fact does not require any permit for qualifying adults to carry a concealed weapon.
But in the New Jersey case, the police chief denied Rogers' permit application because he was not able to show a “justifiable need." Rogers appealed the decision to the state’s superior court, but his application was denied by the judge.
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The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs Inc. joined Rogers’ case in filing a lawsuit against the state’s attorney general and others.
The U.S. District Court of New Jersey dismissed the case in May because it said the 3rd Circuit Court ruled the state’s “justifiable need” requirement constitutional.
Rogers and the firearm organization are now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide:
- If the Second Amendment allows the right to carry a firearm outside of the home for self-defense.
- If the government can deny the right to carry a firearm outside of the home to someone following the law by requiring that they have a special need to carry a firearm.
Why does Arizona care?
The 23 states asking the Supreme Court to look at Rogers v. Grewal are considered "shall issue" or states that do not require a concealed-weapon permit.
Arizona does not require a concealed weapon permit.
“Your constitutional rights don’t end when you walk outside your front door,” Brnovich said. “We have a guaranteed Bill of Rights in this country, not a bill of needs.”
Brnovich said similar laws have been ruled unconstitutional across the country and New Jersey’s should be as well.
"The problem with New Jersey’s law is that they have essentially created a workaround ban for the issuance of handgun permits by adopting subjective 'justifiable need' requirements," Ryan Anderson, communications director for the attorney general, said.
There have been a differing of legal opinions among the nation's appeals courts.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Arizona, ruled against a similar law in Hawaii. Arizona was involved with challenging it as well, Anderson said.
Anderson said Brnovich hopes the Supreme Court will rule against New Jersey's law and provide future protections for all Americans in the gun permitting process.
"Our office takes no position on what the proper evaluation criteria or what the specific requirements for issuing a handgun permit in each state should look like," Anderson said. "But we also don’t believe the government should be in the position of deciding which law-abiding and legally-qualified citizen gets to exercise their Second Amendment right."