Supreme Court expands gun rights in major 2A ruling!
Date: June 23, 2022
The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York state law that made it difficult to obtain a permit to carry a handgun outside the home, marking the justices’ first major opinion on Second Amendment rights in more than a decade.
"The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees"
The 6-3 decision to invalidate New York’s law will almost certainly render unconstitutional similar restrictions in more than a half dozen other states that give licensing officials wide discretion over concealed carry permitting.
The ruling broke along ideological lines, with the court’s six conservatives joining a majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas.
The New York law at issue required concealed carry permit applicants to demonstrate a special need for a license, beyond a basic desire for self-defense. In striking down the law, the court’s conservatives ruled that the so-called proper-cause requirement prevented “law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”
“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” Thomas wrote for the majority. “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.”
New York's law was "problematic because it grants open-ended discretion to licensing officials and authorizes licenses only for those applicants who can show some special need apart from self-defense" — in effect, denying citizens the right to carry a gun to protect themselves, he wrote.
The ruling’s broad sweep amounts to a complete overhaul of the court’s Second Amendment doctrine and is expected to call into question a wide range of other gun laws, according to legal experts.
Thursday’s case arose after two New York residents were denied unrestricted carry licenses. Backed by an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the applicants sued the licensing officials and, after losing in the lower courts, filed their ultimately successful appeal to the Supreme Court.
The decision could hamper efforts to pass modern gun control measures. According to Adam Winkler, a professor at the UCLA School of Law, the ruling means that for a gun law to be constitutionally permissible, it must be consistent with historical patterns of gun regulation.
“A law like a red flag law — part of the Senate compromise — is a new modern innovation,” he said. “There is no historical tradition of taking guns away from people who are in crisis.”
The opinion builds on the court’s last major gun rights decision more than a decade ago. In the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, a 5-4 court ruled that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. The court in Heller noted that the Second Amendment is “not unlimited,” but left unanswered what restrictions are constitutionally allowed.
Although the ruling Thursday broadly protects the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a gun outside the home, the majority left some legal gray area when it comes to possessing guns in what it deemed “sensitive places” like schools or government buildings.
“There is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a ‘sensitive place’ simply because it is crowded and protected generally by the New York City Police Department,” Thomas wrote. But underscoring that a more granular definition of sensitive places would be left for future cases, Thomas added: “Like Heller, we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis of the full scope of the Second Amendment.”
Click the link here to read the full opinion here on the Supreme Court website: 20-843 New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen (06/23/2022) (supremecourt.gov)
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