For decades they were told they had to get permission from their local sheriff or chief of police, and then when they went to apply for their Carry Conceal Weapon (CCW) permit they had to give “good cause” for wanting to carry a gun, because “self-defense” was not considered good cause. So, in most cases, the only ones allowed to carry guns in the most restrictive states were politicians, judges, friends of the sheriffs and chiefs, and those protecting large sums of money or valuable property (such as jewelers transporting diamonds). However, on June 23, 2022, that all changed. The United States Supreme struck down a hundred-year-old New York gun law in the case New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, thereby confirming the intent of the 2nd Amendment for law abiding citizens to not only own and possess a gun inside the home, but the right to carrying it concealed outside of the home without requiring a license (meaning permission from the government).
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms” is truly an American phenomenon. Our founding fathers did not put it into the U.S. Constitution for hunting, or even for self-defense against criminals, but to protect ourselves if the federal government ever turned tyrannical.
In the 6 to 3 decision, Justice Clarence Thomas stated, "The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not 'a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,'" and he continued, "We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant's right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense."
I’m no legal expert, just a former law enforcement officer who enforced laws, including gun laws, but like Justice Thomas, that’s how I had always interpreted the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution. So, what this new ruling means for most Americans is that they can carry a concealed handgun in most public places, provided it is not a prohibited weapon (a stolen gun, fully automatic firearm, sawed off shotguns, etc.), and they are not in one of the following categories: a felon, drug user or addict, alien, adjudicated as mental defective or committed to a mental institution, are subject to a domestic restraining order, have a prior misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence, a fugitive from justice, or were dishonorably discharged from the military.
For those people who live in the other half of the country, where they’ve always enjoyed their Second Amendment right without infringements, this recent ruling may not change anything at home, but it does expand their freedom when traveling to other states that did not previously have Conceal Carry Weapons reciprocity.
Obviously, there’s been quite a bit of push back on the Supreme Court’s decision by those in favor of “gun control,” and I intentionally put the words “gun control” in quotes because there is truly no gun control for criminals and terrorists. If someone wants a firearm, they can easily get it on the black market, which is also true for any country in the world. That stated, New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ reaction to good citizens carrying guns concealed, “We cannot allow New York to become the wild, wild west.”
As soon as I heard Mayor Adams say that on the news program that I was watching, I said out loud, with my wife as my witness, “What is he talking about? For the past two years New York City has been the ‘wild west!’” How many videos of shootings have we’ve seen coming out of there since the 2020 riots? I’m referring to the full-on warfare-like shootouts in broad day light, with innocent people all around. Historically, the supposed “wild west” was more tame and civilized than The Big Apple. That’s not just my understanding of U.S. history, but it’s also the opinion of historian W. Eugen Hollon (1913-2002) who in his book, Frontier Violence: Another Look, wrote that the western frontier “was far more civilized, more peaceful and safer place than American society today.” Mind you, that was written in 1974.
There’s a reason why 4% of New York’s population left their beloved city and permanently moved to less crime ridden states since the draconian pandemic restrictions and riots took place. That’s 336,000 people! Of course, if you take the time to listen to Mayor Adam’s lamenting, he does not give any Constitutional argument as to why the U.S. Supreme Court is supposedly wrong. In addition, President Joe Biden told the nation that he is “deeply disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s decision. Then he said something similar to Mayor Eric Adam, which was, “In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society, not less, to protect our fellow Americans.” OK, I’m all in favor of a better protected society, but why is the President “deeply disappointed” with the Supreme Court? I don’t know about you, but these incidents that the President cited just proves to me that the entire nation is already the “wild, wild west” like New York City, and once again, where is his Constitutional argument as to why the six justices in favor of siding with the Second Amendment got it wrong? Aren’t our rights, and our entire justice system, based upon the United States Constitution? We don’t need emotional statements, but solid legal arguments.Just so you know that I am not some armchair complainer, who’s not willing to leave my computer screen and do nothing “to protect our fellow Americans,” I was just in Tulsa, Oklahoma several weeks ago as the Range Safety Officer for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. My job was to make sure that everybody, both law enforcement officials and civilians, were safe during live-fire testing of some new anti-riot and bullet proof glass products just developed by RiotGlass (you may recall a previous article I did about this company, which is titled Keeping the Smash & Grabbers and the Rioters Out). Anyway, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office want to install some of these products in their jail, along with the like-minded Tulsa Public School District, and some private business as well that were there for the two-hour demonstration. I was requested to be there as the RSO because Oklahoma is already the “wild, wild west,” like New York City, based on recent shootings, which is plaguing many cities across America. You can see the news report for yourself by looking up the story titled Owasso, Tulsa Public Schools look for extra security measures in school reported by Fox 23 News on June 16, 2022. I’m easy to spot in the video footage, because on the back of my ballistic vest are the big bold words RANGE SAFETY OFFICER.
Now that the U.S. Supreme court made it clear that you don’t need government permission to exercise your right, gun sales are up, more people are training, and more people are carrying their guns concealed in public places.
Reference to “the wild west” of the 1800s did not come about by law abiding citizens carrying guns, but from bandits carrying them. I went to Tulsa, Oklahoma recently for ballistic testing of bullet proof glass needed for government buildings, schools, and business because cities across America were already “the wild west” before the Supreme Court’s decision. Here’s a table of weapons that were part of the testing.
These are bullets are “frozen in time,” or so they appear to be. They were stopped from penetrating the newest material made by RiotGlass. Glass like this is being installed in buildings across the country due to the increasing violence nationwide.
- If you do not own a firearm, go out immediately and buy one legally. Of course, that includes purchasing a safe or lock box to keep children from accessing it.
- If you have the money, you should own the following firearms: one semi-automatic pistol, a revolver, a shotgun, and a rifle; either a bold action rifle or a semi-automatic rifle. The rule of thumb is don’t buy more weapons than you can carry. This list is a completes an arsenal that allows you to deal with just about any threat.
- Get professional firearms training. Although firearms are just tools, and no more or no less dangerous than a car, they are still dangerous, and like a car you don’t want to get hurt by it or hurt an innocent person with it. Your training should include legal issues concerning use-of-force, gun safety, range safety, weapons handling, marksmanship, self-defense tactics, and realistic scenario training using airsoft training guns that fire a 6mm plastic projectile. That includes the safety equipment that goes along with it: goggles or face protector. You should be using airsoft training guns anyway for your self-defense training. Even if it’s not me you’re coming to for your training, and I do plenty of them a year for a wide variety of groups, you can certainly email me, and you’ll receive solid advice on finding the right instructor in your area if you’re in the United States. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Obey all the laws, rules, and regulations currently on the books in your jurisdiction. If where you live requires you to apply for a CCW permit, which is an infringement of your right, it’s still better to do it than not, despite it costing you some time and money. By “going the extra mile,” it may save you some harassment from the local authorities should you ever be stopped and questioned for carrying a handgun. Sadly, many local authorities routinely deny American citizens their Constitutional rights, and they don’t care if the case works its way all the way up through the judicial system. They have the “deep pockets.” Case in point is the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Kennedy v. Bremerton School District on June 27, 2022, just four days after the Second Amendment decision, making it crystal clear that it was unconstitutional for the school district to forbid, and punish, Coach Joseph Kennedy from publicly praying to God on the high school’s 50-yard line after each football game. They violated his First Amendment right to exercise freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. If for some reason you’re denied your Second Amendment Constitutional right after jumping through all of their hoops, and not for any obvious disqualifiers, you must ask yourself, “Who am I more afraid of, the government or the bad guys?” Then you must decide if you are going to be a free American and “pack” or not.
As American martial artists, nobody should be more protective of the right of the people to keep and bear arms than us. After all, those of us who have studied a traditional martial art know better than anyone as to the reason why, based on the traditional martial arts weapons we have been trained in. When ancient warlords confiscated swords and spears from the people, those same people had to resort to using common farm tools to protect themselves, such as the nunchaku, tonfa, and three-sectional staff. Unfortunately, it didn’t just stop with the taking of weapons, but there were prohibitions against studying any form of hand-to-hand combat. That’s how the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira was created. 16th century slaves hid their fighting techniques in what looked like dance moves.
History always repeats itself, and the right to carry a firearm in the United States is one of the best ways to BE A HARD TARGET.