Friday, March 21, 2014

Right-to-Carry Litigation Update

Photo credit: Associated Press.

While I was in the process of extracting myself from California, important progress was made on the litigation front for the the right to bear arms outside the home. After more than a year of waiting, three decision were rendered out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, affirming that governments in this circuit must recognize a right to carry functional handguns for self-defense under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the court ordered that self-defense must be accepted as meeting the various “good cause” requirements for the issuance of concealed-carry licenses in California and Hawaii.

Drake v. Jerejian New Jersey Lost on appeal at USCA3.
Kachalsky v. Cacace New York Lost on appeal at USCA2.
Moore v. Madigan Illinois Won on appeal at USCA7.
Palmer v. D.C. D.C. Won at U.S. District Court.
Peruta v. San Diego California Petitioned to U.S. Supreme Court.
Richards v. Prieto California Lost on rehearing at USCA9.
Woollard v. Gallagher Maryland Lost on appeal at USCA4.

Naturally, the legal battles aren’t over yet. The controlling decision in Peruta v. San Diego has been challenged by a number of actors (including the attorney general of California) and may yet face a rehearing by a larger panel on the overwhelmingly “liberal” circuit. Petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court are the next option for whichever side ultimately loses at the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile, Drake v. Jerejian, out of the Third Circuit, is already at that step.

The question remains whether the Supreme Court will actually step in to settle the matter.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Retreat from California

It's time for me to hit the eject button.

The time has come for me to surrender my ancestral homeland and to retreat to friendlier political territory.

As someone who loves freedom but lives in the state currently ranked 49th overall in this respect, I have realized for some time that I would eventually become a political and/or economic refugee from California. In my small way, I have fought for many years to hold back the tide rising to swallow the state that has been my family’s home for at least five generations, but after all the time, money, and pointless votes spent in that effort, the precious few victories have proven fleeting or largely inconsequential thus far.

Professionally, the situation hasn’t been much better for me, which isn’t terribly surprising given that state service and politics are inextricably linked. The rising hypocrisy and venality of the ivory towers of academia have simply become too much for my continued sanity to bear. Otherwise, I might have retired graciously after 25 years in higher education, but I lack the time to dither over my own future any longer.

My only daughter will be a teenager all too soon. While I might have contented myself to follow the long tradition of righteous outlawry in the face of well-meaning tyranny, it would be undeniably selfish to let her grow up in an environment increasingly toxic to her rights as a free citizen, when I could give her a fighting chance for liberty and prosperity somewhere else. By removing her to more defensible ground, I can at least give her the choices that I felt were so long unavailable to me, but this must happen before she loses her way in the emotional wilderness of adolescence and such life-changing events are perceived as the enemy of her own happiness.

Therefore, I have resigned my post at the California State University and am heading north to Washington, where I will continue my career and begin building a new home for my family. If thereby I can somehow reverse the tide through the anthropic virtue of my own sacrifice, then so much the better. God has certainly enjoyed a chuckle at my expense before. Indeed, after months and years of delays and denials, one such effect began to manifest itself scarcely two weeks from the day I committed to relocating.

While the Evergreen State is no libertarian paradise, Washington does seem to be the right place at the right time, especially if I must follow the path of traditional employment for some years to come. It is also not so far gone as California, so it might yet be saved from a similar fate. Even if the political kinesthesis now operating throughout the United Stated can’t be avoided there either, perhaps the local balance can be tipped in the right direction within the national scheme. If the Gadsden flag flying in one prospective neighborhood that I visited was any indication, there is some hope for this.

Of course, predicting the future is impossible from within this historical inflection point. I feel like I am running before a storm. That storm may happily break and pass us harmlessly by—and the sun does seem to be breaking through the clouds just now—or it may not. The Pacific Northwest with its forests, mountains, and rivers has always beckoned to me, and my mind’s eye has long seen it as a place of refuge, so that is where I have chosen to shelter and where I might reset the clock long enough to peacefully watch my daughter’s generation grow to maturity … before possibly facing the dreadful choice between fight or flight once again.