Supreme Court strikes down New York’s concealed carry gun law

A protest sign is seen leaning on fencing outside the Supreme Court.

A protest sign is seen leaning on fencing outside the Supreme Court, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Washington.

Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York state law that requires individuals to get a license to carry a concealed weapon outside their home and have “proper cause” to carry the firearm.

Driving the news: Per USA Today, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion that marks a win for gun rights advocates, especially the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association that filed the lawsuit, which challenged the licensing requirement to legally possess a firearm.

  • The opinion states that New York is one of six states that requires “some additional special need” to obtain a license, which isn’t an “objective criteria.”
  • “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,” wrote Thomas in a 6-3 ruling.
  • He stated that the court knew of “no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”

On the other side: Three justices dissented, namely Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor, according to Axios.

  • In Breyer’s dissent, he cited the number of mass shootings this year, firearm-related deaths and the number of civilian-held arms, while arguing that the court relies “exclusively on history” without looking at the evidence.
  • Breyer posed a question about what kind of gun regulation states should have.
  • “A State like New York, which must account for the roughly 8.5 million people living in the 303 square miles of New York City, might choose to adopt differently (and stricter) firearms regulations than States like Montana or Wyoming, which do not contain any city remotely comparable in terms of population or density,” he wrote.

Background: The lawsuit was filed by two New York State Rifle & Pistol Association members, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, who had their applications for licenses rejected for failing to show “proper cause,” according to CNBC.

Gitanjali Poonia

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