Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) today declared a state of emergency that covers all of North Carolina. It was declared in response to the spread of COVID-19 or the coronavirus. As of Monday, there have been seven confirmed cases of it with six of those in Wake County and the seventh in Chatham County. For non-North Carolinians, that is Raleigh and the Pittsboro/Siler City areas.
Excerpts from Gov. Cooper’s press release:
Governor Roy Cooper took the next step in the state’s coronavirus COVID-19 preparedness plan today and issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency. The declaration activates the Emergency Operations Center to help agencies coordinate from one location and makes it easier to purchase needed medical supplies, protect consumers from price gouging, and increase county health departments’ access to state funds…
Key provisions in the order are similar to those enacted in a natural disaster. The order will help with the cost burdens and supplies that may be difficult for providers and public health to access due to increased demand. It also increases the state public health department’s role in supporting local health departments, which have been tasked with monitoring quarantines, tracing exposure and administering testing.
Executive Order No. 116 in its entirety is found here.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane back to January 2010 when there was a heavy snow storm in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The City of King and Stokes County were particularly hard hit. In response, Gov. Beverly Perdue and both locales declared states of emergency. This automatically triggered then NC General Statute § 14-288.7(a) which provided, in part,:
“it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area: (1) In which a declared state of emergency exists; or (2) Within the immediate vicinity of which a riot is occurring.”
The City of King went further and invoked their powers under NC General Statute § 14-288.12(b). This “forbade the sale or purchase of firearms and ammunition, as well as the possession of firearms and ammunition off an individual’s premises.” It also banned the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Thus, any time a state of emergency covering all of North Carolina or any time a city or county declared a state of emergency, § 14-288.7(a) kicked in and you could not carry a firearm outside your own home. There were no exceptions made for those of us who hold a Concealed Handgun Permit.
Fast forward a few months to June and the US Supreme Court handled down a monumental Second Amendment ruling. That was, of course, McDonald v. Chicago which applied the Second Amendment as an individual right to the states under the 14th Amendment. That was on the morning of June 28, 2010.
By the close of business on June 28th, the Second Amendment Foundation and Grass Roots North Carolina with attorney Alan Gura had filed suit against the State of North Carolina, the City of King, and Stokes County for violating the Second and 14th Amendments. The case, Bateman v. Perdue, using the newly won application of the Second Amendment to the states in McDonald, directly challenged NC’s emergency powers gun bans.
To make a long story short, US District Court Judge Malcom J. Howard, using strict scrutiny found that the emergency powers gun ban did violate the Second Amendment in March 2012.
The problem here is that the emergency declaration statutes, are not narrowly tailored to serve the government’s interest in public safety. They do not target dangerous individuals or dangerous conduct. Nor do they seek to impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions by, for example, imposing a curfew to allow the exercise of Second Amendment rights during circumscribed times. Rather, the statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest. See Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2799 (” [A] mericans understood the ‘right of self-preservation’ as permitting a citizen to ‘repe[l] force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury. ‘ ” (quoting 1 Blackstone’s Commentaries 145-146, n.42 (1803) ) (second alteration in original)) . Consequently, the emergency declaration laws are invalid as applied to plaintiffs.
Session Law 2012-12 was signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue (D-NC) on June 11, 2012 and became effective on October 1, 2012. This codified the ruling by Judge Howard and repealed NC General Statutes § 14-288.7 and § 14-288.12 through § 14-288.17.
Thanks to Alan Gura, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Grass Roots North Carolina just because seven people have COVID-19 and the governor has declared a state of emergency you can no longer be disarmed. We owe them and the individual plaintiffs a debt of gratitude.
5 thoughts on “Imagine If SAF And GRNC Hadn’t Won Bateman”
In writing to William Jarvis, Jefferson said, “You seem . . . to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.”
Emergencies Do Not Trump the Constitution..
President Trump’s emergency declaration is not just an end run around Congress. It is an end run around the Constitution. Article One of the Constitution gives Congress sole authority to allocate federal funds. While President Trump’s order may be a particularly blatant abuse of power, it is hardly unprecedented. Most modern presidents have routinely used so-called national emergencies to expand their power, often at the expense of liberty. For example, Present Franklin Delano Roosevelt used “emergency powers” to justify internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two.
Trump, like other recent presidents, is relying on the 1976 National Emergencies Act for legal justification for his emergency declaration. This act gives the president broad powers to declare national emergencies for almost any reason. All the president need do is inform Congress he has declared an emergency.
Once the emergency is declared, the president simply needs to renew the declaration once a year to maintain a state of emergency. Since this act passed, 59 emergency declarations have been issued, with 31 of those still in effect.
This week, the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution terminating President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Hopefully, this precedent will be used against all future presidents who use spurious claims of national emergencies to expand their powers and shrink our liberties.
“Hopefully, this precedent will be used against all future presidents” It won’t. This is purely partisan. How do I know? Every bill that the House passes to restrict the President’s power is very narrowly tailored against something that PDT is currently doing. They passed a bill prohibiting action against Iran but not against anyone else. They passed a bill declaring this particular emergency to not be an emergency. How about amending the War Powers Act? Crickets. How about amending the National Emergencies Act? Crickets. They are very carefully preserving those powers for the next president with a D after his name.
However, nice to see the governor of NC, with a big fat (D) behind her name, sign sensible legislation. Unfortunately it was eight years ago. I’d be willing to be it would be much harder to garner that level of partisan cooperation today.
She really didn’t have much choice. The state had decided not to appeal Bateman to the 4th Circuit and the bill included language to clean up the law to comply with the ruling.
Back then, Perdue would have told you that the law didn’t apply in this situation – even though it did.
It’s good to win but as we all know, wins are temporary. The Left will honor the deal until they feel strong enough to abrogate it and not one second longer. We will never be safe sharing a country with 65M of Those People, who by the way control most of the institutions.
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