Chalk one up for the Second Amendment. Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled to strike down New York’s “may issue” concealed carry permit scheme in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen. The 6 – 3 decision in NYSRPA v Bruen is the courts first Second Amendment case since 2010. However, the case could affect other “may issue” states as well.
NYSRPA v Bruen: A Win for the Second Amendment
We have all been waiting for a year for this decision to come down from SCOTUS. Fortunately, the wait is over. In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down New York’s restrictive concealed carry permitting law. As a result, New Yorker’s no longer have to prove they’re in danger in order to receive carry permits.
Following the decision, NYSRPA (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association) had this to say, “This case challenges New York’s requirement that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” to carry a firearm. New York regularly uses this requirement to deny applicants the right to carry a firearm outside of their home. The NRA believes that law-abiding citizens should not be required to prove they are in peril to receive the government’s permission to exercise this constitutionally protected right.”
According to the ruling, the court said, “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”
By striking down the “proper cause requirement,” which requires applicants to “show proper need” to carry a gun, public carry will finally be available to law-abiding New Yorkers. This comes when violent crime is rising in New York, and concealed carry licenses are more important than ever.
Current state law disenfranchises citizens’ right to self-defense, while simultaneously going soft on crime. But the court’s decision means that New York will now have to change state gun laws. The new laws will allow citizens to carry a concealed gun in public for self-defense.
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA responded, “Decades of Right-to-Carry laws all across America have proven that good men and women are not the problem. This ruling will bring life-saving justice to law-abiding Americans who have lived under unconstitutional restrictions all across our country, particularly in cities and states with revolving door criminal justice systems, no cash bail and increased opposition to law-enforcement.”
The opinion was authored by Justice Clarence Thomas and joined by Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Chief Justice Roberts.
In the opinion, the court ruled that “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”
Not So Fast
Although the ruling is final, New Yorkers shouldn’t celebrate too fast. New York already has plans to find ways to work around it. Specifically, they plan to take their time implementing the ruling, as well as defining where you can and can’t carry.
CBS2 News reports, “John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, told CBS2 in a memo that a ruling against New York, ‘… does not mean that you wake up the morning of the ruling and the premises permit magically turns into a carry.’”
The article goes on to say, “Depending on the ruling, it could take New York a year or two to implement, Miller says, especially if the court allows New York to limit the places a gun can be carried, so-called ‘sensitive places.’”
No one is exactly sure what “sensitive places” will be, but they plan to take their time working on it. There is talk to include mass transit, the subway, stadiums, theaters, movie theaters, “probably schools,” and “probably houses of worship.”
However, perhaps the broadest definition is “places where large numbers of people gather.” Do you mean like New York City? I’m not saying there are plans to make New York City one big gun-free zone. But I also wouldn’t put it past them to try.
Setting Precedent for Other States to Follow?
The NYSRPA v Bruen ruling will likely cause other “may issue” states throughout the United States to change their laws as well. Currently, seven other states have similar restrictive laws on the books. Those states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Likewise, the District of Columbia also has similar laws in place.
NYSRPA continued in its statement, “It is hard to overstate how important this case is. The decision will affect the laws in many states that currently restrict carrying a firearm outside of the home. NYSRPA hand in hand with the NRA-ILA is working hard to defend your constitutional rights and is prepared to argue this case in order to protect the rights of Americans everywhere.”
Hopefully, New York will work quickly to enact the new ruling and other states will soon follow. The decision establishes once and for all that regulations of the Second Amendment are unconstitutional. Thus, opening the door for further challenges of restrictions to the Bill of Rights in the future.
Larry Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of NSSF stated, “This is a tremendous victory for the rights of all law-abiding Americans to exercise the pre-existing and God-given right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. This establishes that ‘may issue’ permitting schemes that relegate the Second Amendment to a second-class right that can be meted out by government bureaucrats are unconstitutional.
“The firearm industry is tremendously grateful to the U.S. Supreme Court’s faithful application of Constitutional rights,” he continued.
Indeed, we are.