NYT column: This liberal says hooray for Bruen -- and give me my carry permit

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Give the New York Times credit for some diversity of opinion in its columns. At least, give them a kudo until its newsroom agitates for the removal of the editor over how Laura Adkins’ argument for Bruen makes them feel “unsafe”.  James Bennet, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Ironically or not, Adkins has a few things to say about feeling “unsafe” in New York City too. Only her issues with safety are somewhat more coherent than the threat posed by reading opinions in the pages of the New York Times:

I lived in New York for a decade without fearing for my personal safety. But in recent months, I have been terrified. In May, I filed for and received a temporary order of protection against a former partner.

More than five million American women alive today have reported being threatened with a gun, shot or shot at by an intimate partner, and more than half of the perpetrators of mass shootings in the past decade shot a family member, intimate partner or former intimate partner as part of their rampage. Every month, 70 women on average are shot and killed by an intimate partner. But states like mine make it legally cumbersome to defend yourself with a legally purchased handgun.

If my life is ever in danger, I want to be able to protect myself with a gun. And now, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, I am one step closer to carrying one. …

I also understand why some of my fellow liberals would like to ban guns outright. But guns are already prevalent among those who don’t follow the rules: Despite strong gun laws in my state and city, illegal trafficking abounds.

The reality is that in addition to preventing abusers from owning guns, we must empower vulnerable citizens to protect themselves.

I’m genuinely curious to see whether this guest column from Adkins, who serves as opinion editor at The Forward, will generate any pushback from the NYT’s rank and file. It shouldn’t, but then again, the guest column from Tom Cotton shouldn’t have done so either. Perhaps everyone learned a lesson from that embarrassing episode, but somehow I wonder whether the lesson wasn’t that the inmates truly are in charge of the asylum.

Adkins gets this issue precisely correct. The problem with firearms doesn’t come from legal possession and carry by law-abiding citizens. Furthermore, that is a choice that should be left to the law-abiding citizens, and not a bureaucrat who gets to decide for himself whether Adkins truly needs an effective form of self-defense. Adkins probably would have been able to get that permission under the circumstances she reveals in the column, having a stalking ex-boyfriend who remains undeterred by a temporary restraining order. The point, though, is that she shouldn’t have to beg permission to exercise an enumerated individual right under the Constitution.

Bruen resets the relationship between citizen and state to its proper constitutional order. Citizens do not require permission to exercise their rights; the state has to show in specific circumstances why those rights should be limited. It is the state that should carry the burden of proof, in other words, and not the citizen when it comes to those exercises. Permit regimes that require approval unless the state proves unsuitability are therefore rational and constitutional, while those that force citizens to prove a “need” are clearly arbitrary and capricious by definition and unconstitutional.

New York, California, and the other may-issue states will likely start calculating how they can obstruct access to 2nd Amendment rights and keep the citizen-state relationship inverted from its proper constitutional orientation. One has to wonder, however, whether Bruen will prove to be more widely popular even among liberals — especially those who live in urban areas where crime rates have exploded over the last two years. Adkins might even speak for a significant percentage of the New York Times newsroom rank and file these days.