WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 21, 2021) — Today, a coalition of Second Amendment organizations from California to New Jersey announced the filing of an important merits-stage United States Supreme Court brief in the case of NYSRPA v. Bruen supporting the right to bear arms in public. The brief’s parties include FPC American Victory Fund, Coalition of New Jersey Firearms Owners, San Diego County Gun Owners, Orange County Gun Owners, Riverside County Gun Owners, California County Gun Owners, and Knife Rights Foundation. The brief can be found at FPCLegal.org.

The brief, submitted by historian and constitutional scholar David T. Hardy, argues that nineteenth-century state constitutions equated the term ‘bear arms’ with ‘carry arms for self-defense’; antebellum and post-Civil War case law confirm the original public understanding of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; restrictions from the old west do not inform the Second Amendment’s original meaning; and that carrying arms for self-defense was common and known to the framing generations of 1791 and 1868.

“State constitutions from 1776 to 1868 demonstrate unequivocally that ‘bear arms’ was used to describe carrying arms for individual self-defense. Whatever the most common use of ‘bear arms’ was in ordinary speech, in constitutional enactments, ‘bear arms’ was universally understood as protecting defensive carry of ordinary arms,” the brief says. “History and tradition confirm this. Nineteenth-century carry restrictions, and the cases adjudicating their constitutionality, reflect an understanding that” governments “must allow ordinary citizens to carry arms for self-defense—bans on both open and concealed carry were largely invalidated.”

“CNJFO and its members unwaveringly support the petitioners in this case, who seek to enjoin unconstitutional barriers to the free exercise of Second Amendment rights,” said Theresa Inacker, CNJFO Communications Director. “The unconstitutional standard at the heart of this challenge parallels the impossible ‘justifiable need’ hurdle used by the State of New Jersey to prevent law-abiding people from exercising their right to bear arms. Citizens in states like New Jersey, New York and elsewhere have been unjustly denied their fundamental Second Amendment rights at the hands of oppressive state governments for too long, and our relief is past due.”

“The right to carry is a focus of our organizations because our members see it as essential to their freedom and their right to self-defense,” noted Michael A. Schwartz, executive director of the amicus California County Gun Owners organizations. “We filed this brief because a ruling in our favor will put an end to California’s sheriffs and police chiefs requiring that carry license applicants provide proof of ‘good cause’ and make it possible for millions more law-abiding Californians to exercise their right to bear arms in public, especially in hostile counties like Los Angeles and in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

“This case will almost certainly lead to a historic decision at a time when some would like to see the Second Amendment diminished to a second-class right and take away one of the most important rights guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Knife Rights Foundation Chairman Doug Ritter. “Self-defense, and having the effective means by which a person defends themselves and their loved ones, is one of the most basic of natural human rights. We must stand strong defending this right.”

FPC American Victory Fund is a § 527 political committee that works to defend and promote fundamental rights, especially the right to keep and bear arms.

Coalition of New Jersey Firearms Owners (“CNJFO”) is a nonprofit member organization based in Sewell, New Jersey that was formed to educate the public about the “need” standard, as well as to advocate for lawful, safe, and responsible firearms ownership in New Jersey. CNJFO strives to restore the basic human right of self-defense for the people of New Jersey—a right that, while guaranteed by the Constitution to all citizens, all three branches of New Jersey government have worked to effectively obliterate.

San Diego County Gun Owners, Orange County Gun Owners, Riverside County Gun Owners, and California County Gun Owners are political membership organizations whose purposes are to protect and advance the Second Amendment rights of residents of California. Their memberships consist of Second Amendment supporters who want to protect and restore the right to keep and bear arms in California.

Knife Rights Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization that serves its members and the public, focused on protecting the rights of knife owners to keep and carry knives and edged arms, including for self-defense. The purposes of the Knife Rights Foundation include the promotion of education regarding state and federal knife laws, and the defense and protection of the civil rights of knife owners nationwide.