Clarence Thomas: SCOTUS Ought Not ‘Stand by Idly’ as Gun Control Cripples 2nd Amendment

US Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits for an official photo with other members of the US Supreme Court in the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, June 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

In a June 26 dissent that accompanied the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) announcement that it would not hear Peruta v. California, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court ought not “stand by idly” as state-level gun control cripples the Second Amendment.

On January 12, 2017,  Breitbart News reported SCOTUS was asked to review Peruta in hopes of securing a ruling on fundamental rights, particularly as to “whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law.”

Thomas contended that SCOTUS’s decision to pass over Peruta was “indefensible.”

Cornell published the text of Thomas’s dissent, in which he expressed concern that SCOTUS is treating the Second Amendment “as a disfavored right.” He observed, “The Constitution does not rank certain rights above others, and I do not think this Court should impose such a hierarchy by selectively enforcing its preferred rights.”

Thomas then expressed concern that a sheltered, inside-the-beltway lifestyle is blinding many to the Framers’ intentionality in hedging in gun rights for the citizenry at large:

For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it. I respectfully dissent.

Thomas was joined in dissent by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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