Building on national momentum to relax concealed carry laws in restrictive jurisdictions, 19 states have joined an appeal to force New Jersey to relax its rules on obtaining a permit to carry a handgun, pushing the issue further toward a Supreme Court showdown.
Lead by Wyoming Attorney Gen. Greg Phillips, the states are joining together to appeal the decision of a federal court that said New Jersey's requirement that citizens demonstrate a threat to their life before they would be granted a concealed carry permit was legal.
The original suit, filed by John Drake who services ATM machines in New Jersey, argued it was unconstitutional to restrict citizens' access to self protection only if they have been attacked.
"It seems unreasonable to me to have to wait until you're beaten up or shot at to get a permit," Drake told the Star-Ledger newspaper in New Jersey.
The 19 states are joining the Supreme Court push because local officials are worried the New Jersey decision could set a precedent that would roll back their less-restrictive concealed carry laws.
The move is also a key component of a strategy by pro-gun groups to force the Supreme Court to rule on whether the Second Amendment applies to personal protection outside the home. The landmark Heller decision in 2008 — which affirmed the Second Amendment applied to individuals and not militias — left in question whether ";bearing arms" applied everywhere.
"Law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to defend themselves beyond their front doorstep," top NRA lobbyist Chris Cox told the Star-Ledger.
The states who joined the appeal include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.