In what can only be construed as a misguided interpretation of the 14th amendment, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit in North Dakota alleging that the State’s concealed handgun law is unconstitutional.
A U.K. citizen, living in the U.S. was denied a renewal for his concealed handgun permit due to a change in the State’s concealed carry laws. Now, North Dakota requires that a person be a citizen in order to receive the permit. According to a FoxNews.com article, the ACLU is invoking a civil war amendment to open the door for persons of any immigration status to be able to carry a concealed weapon legally.
“That to us is a discrimination based upon alienage which would run against the 14th amendment’s prohibition against discrimination upon alienage,” Executive Director of ACLU of South Dakota Robert Doody told FoxNews.com”
The most basic problem with the suit is the position the ACLU is taking on Section 1 of the 14th amendment. The 14th amendment to the Constitution was adopted in 1868 as part of a trio that are called the “reconstruction amendments” or “civil war amendments”. The three amendments were intended to reshape the country from a one of master and slave, to one of Americans.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws
Section one has three clauses: The first, or citizenship clause, protects the citizenship status of an American from infringement by the States. The second insures due process and the last is the equal protection clause.
The only portions of the 14th amendment that could even vaguely apply are the due process and equal protection clauses. Those clauses apply to “any person” not necessarily a citizen. But what those clauses protect is only the right to due process and equal protection under the law.
The ACLU appears to believe that the due process clause prevents the State from depriving any person of liberty. Therefor, any person living in the United States must be afforded the same liberties or be denied them only through due process.
Since North Dakota has offered its citizens the right to carry concealed weapons, the ACLU is arguing that all persons in North Dakota must therefor also be offered that liberty. This is a very backwards interpretation of the clause. What the clause was intended to do was make sure that when a State decided to deny a person of a liberty, it should only be done through due process.
Due process is certainly being applied in this case. Due process does not guarantee that every person can do what every other can do. If that were the case, parole’s could roam free, felons could have the right to own guns or vote, pedophiles could be allowed to live wherever they pleased. Instead, each of those groups were stripped of the right through the due process of law. Laws and regulations were enacted and once the status of each person was known through legal process, the statutes applied.
In this case, the alien status of the gun owner is not in question. He is an established, permanent resident alien living in the United States. North Dakota enacted a law that prevents anyone other than citizens from carrying concealed weapons. This individual is being treated just like every other alien in North Dakota – no concealed weapons.
The ACLU could easily start the snowball down the hill that becomes a dangerous avalanche. If this suit succeeds in the Supreme court, felons, spousal abusers, child abusers, and many other groups that were previously denied access to guns, explosives and other dangerous materials would now have precedent to sue for those freedoms.
The initial hearing is scheduled for January 27th.