I’ve previously mentioned how the National ACLU is, much to my dismay, anti-gun. However, some state chapters of the ACLU have been known to stand up for gun rights. Recently, the ACLU of South Dakota has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a South Dakota law that unfairly (and unconstitutionally) restricts concealed carry permits:
The ACLU of South Dakota has filed a suit on behalf of a British national and permanent legal immigrant who was denied a Right-to-Carry permit in South Dakota. According to a January 6 FoxNews.com story, the 30-year legal resident and previous Right-to-Carry permit holder was denied due to a 2002 change in South Dakota’s Right-to-Carry law that requires an applicant to be an American citizen. Citing the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, the ACLU of South Dakota has leveled the suit against the South Dakota Secretary of State and the Minnehaha County Sherriff’s Office and has also filed for an injunction to stop the enforcement of the citizenship requirement.
The case is on strong legal ground, since the Supreme Court has long held that lawful permanent residents of the U.S. have the right to equal protection under the laws, and restrictions based on citizenship status must be strongly justified by the government. Under federal law and the law of most states, permanent legal residents are not prohibited from possessing firearms and their right to carry firearms for the purpose of self-defense should also be recognized. After all, a criminal attacking a law-abiding person doesn’t care if the victim is a citizen or a “green card” holder.
A similar ACLU case in Kentucky was successful two years ago, and an NRA-supported case challenging aspects of a Washington state law requiring “alien firearm permits” was successful in forcing a legislative solution for legal residents of that state.
Curiously, some in the pro-gun community have come out in favor of South Dakota’s restriction on Right-to-Carry, stoking fears of illegal aliens carrying guns. Even if we could believe that people who enter the country illegally would concern themselves with obeying the concealed carry laws, elimination of South Dakota’s citizenship requirement for Right-to-Carry would in no way affect those who are in the country illegally. The NRA remains strongly opposed to gun possession by illegal aliens.
I hope that more ACLU chapters learn to appreciate our entire bill of rights, including the Second Amendment.