The Asian Pacific American Gun Owners Association (APAGOA) filed a compelling amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association vs Bruen. This SCOTUS case is asking the fundamental question of whether the Second Amendment applies to outside the home. Specifically, the focus is whether CCW (conceal carry weapons) permits should be “shall issue” in every state and county.
Some states are currently what’s called “may issue” at the discretion of the issuing law enforcement agency. For example, I am a San Francisco resident and the San Francisco Sheriff can basically deny a CCW permit for no reason at all. But if I lived in another nearby county in California, it could be a “shall issue” county where the Sheriff or Chief of Police must issue me a permit if I pass all of the objective parts of the permitting process. In “may issue” counties, CCW permits are often reserved for politicians, judges, and the elite. These counties can be rife with corrupt “pay to play” CCW permit schemes.
This SCOTUS case has tremendous implications for not just Asian Pacific Americans, but for all Americans who want to exercise their right to self defense with a firearm outside of the home. In the amicus brief, APAGOA notes a number of compelling arguments and interweaves personal stories and testimonies of Asian Pacific American men and women in our country.
One key argument APAGOA makes in our amicus brief is one that joins us with our Black brothers and sisters in the history of firearms tradition:
Minority groups cannot always rely on majority institutions to protect them from harm. For Asian Pacific Americans (APA), this has become particularly evident over the past year. Violence against these groups has spiked despite efforts by the authorities to curb these crimes. Many have turned to purchasing firearms for self defense, often for the first time.
In doing so, APA are part of a tradition of minority gun ownership going back at least as far as Reconstruction, when African-Americans relied on gun ownership to protect themselves in the tinderbox of post-slavery America.
With the rise of racist attacks against Asian Pacific Americans over the past year and half, there is an urgent need for APAs across our country to defend ourselves. Part of why we are being attacked is because we are often perceived as weak, and therefore an easy target for violence and worse. The firearm is a great equalizer — and for those of us who decide to take personal responsibility for our own safety and be our own first responder, this is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The APA community needs to send a sharp and clear message to criminals: we will defend ourselves and we will not be easy targets or victims.
One APA testimonial in our amicus brief highlights the urgent need for CCW outside the home:
S.S. became a first-time gun owner after “the whole world changed with the outbreak of the [Coronavirus]” and S.S. realized, “[f]or the first time[,]” that “our institutions . . . can fail too.” S.S. saw that decision vindicated by social unrest and the “rise in xenophobic attacks against people who look like me.”
We have seen a continued failure of government institutions, a rising distrust of law enforcement, and calls to “defund the police.” Given these facts, it is only logical that we need our right to self defense outside the home.
APAGOA is proud to participate in our American democracy at the highest levels of the judiciary system. It is our hope that SCOTUS will rule in favor of freedom and determine that the Second Amendment extends to outside the home. That result would level the playing field for Asian Pacific Americans and all Americans who seek a CCW permit in order to protect themselves, their families and their loved ones.
See APAGOA’s full amicus brief on the U.S. Supreme Court website.
APAGOA gives its sincere thanks to the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, and our lawyers Elbert Lin, Michael Dingman, and John Schronce for their pro bono efforts compiling and submitting APAGOA’s amicus brief.
Written by Top Shot Chris Cheng
APAGOA Founding Board Member
The History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 Champion