BELLEVUE, WA – Now that North Carolina’s Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a statewide emergency because of the spreading Coronavirus, the Second Amendment Foundation is reminding all Americans, especially Tar Heel State residents, their right to bear arms will not be impaired because of an important 2012 court victory in a case known as Bateman v. Perdue.
Cooper’s declaration activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center, but it did not suspend the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms that was incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment in another SAF case, McDonald v. City of Chicago, in 2010.
"We could not have foreseen that our case against North Carolina would ever keep citizens safe in this kind of emergency," said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, "but we are delighted that no public official can arbitrarily render the state’s residents unable to defend themselves on the grounds of a declared emergency. That’s the time when honest citizens might need their firearms the most while away from home."
He recalled filing the lawsuit on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark McDonald ruling in June 2010.
In striking down the state’s emergency power to ban firearms and ammunition outside the home during a declared disaster, Federal Judge Malcolm J. Howard subjected the law to strict scrutiny. Judge Howard wrote at the time, "While the bans imposed pursuant to these statutes may be limited in duration, it cannot be overlooked that the statutes strip peaceable, law abiding citizens of the right to arm themselves in defense of hearth and home, striking at the very core of the Second Amendment." His ruling was issued in March 2012.
"Judge Howard made sense then, and his ruling makes even more sense today," Gottlieb stated. "We know there are all kinds of emergencies, including natural disasters, and while we never anticipated a problem like Coronavirus, which seems at least partly exacerbated by panic, the individual right to bear arms is no less important. At the time, we said SAF was winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time, and the situation in North Carolina underscores the significance of that strategy."
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.