The United States Supreme Court released their opinion in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. To say this 6-3 ruling is significant in the gun rights debate, is more than an understatement.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen—
The historic case challenged New York's restrictions for obtaining a concealed handgun license. As in 6 other states, New York required the person applying for the license to show “good cause” before the issuing agency approved the application. We also known this method of issuing concealed carry license as “may issue.” It is a subjective method of approving a permit application.
Conversely, 43 states use objective criteria to issue permits. In these “shall issue” states, the agency issues a license provided the person meets any training requirements, and passes required background checks, pays fees, etc. No one is making an arbitrary judgement of if the person's life is in enough jeopardy to warrant the right to protect themself in public.
Here are a couple of posts explaining more about this case.
- Are NY Concealed Carry Laws Constitutional?
- US Supreme Court to Hear Monumental Gun Rights Case
- NYC the Supreme Court and The Right to Bear
During oral arguments, an exchange between New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood and Justice Samuel Alito captured the crux of the argument. Underwood recognized that if an applicant stated they leave work late at night and have to walk from a subway station through a high-crime neighborhood to get home, that NY would deny that person's application because they did not cite a specific threat.
How did this happen? Didn't the Heller and McDonald cases affirm the right to own a firearm for self-defense? Yes, but the issue is the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller ruled on the right to own a firearm for self defense inside the home. Anti-freedom states like New York decided the ruling didn't apply outside the home and placed these “good cause” permit restrictions.
SCOTUS ruling is clear—
It seems as though the Court wanted to set the record straight, so to speak, when it comes to this thing about carrying a firearm for self defense. Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court:
In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742 (2010), we recognized that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect the right of an ordinary, law-abiding citizen to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense. In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.
The ruling goes on to say:
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. McDonald, 561 U. S., at 780 (plurality opinion). 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. 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. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. It is so ordered.
Okay, so what does the ruling mean practically?
That's a good question. I'm sure attorneys in these “may issue” states knew this ruling was coming and have been working on ways to comply, while still hindering the application process. The spirit behind the “may issue” process is not about public-safety, it's always about power and control. So let's not think that these states won't get as close to the line and even cross over to frustrate law-abiding gun owners seeking the ability to defend themselves in public against criminals who the state continues to release back into the community.
Additionally, it's hard to say how long it will take before states like New York change the permitting process. In other words, while this is a massive win for freedom and self-reliance, it's not over.
If you want to read the entire ruling, any you probably want to because it's just that good, you can by clicking on this link.
The best resource for gun owners—
Here is a perfect time to remind you about the best legal resource that you can use to determine any state's firearm laws, and much, much more. Our App called Concealed Carry Gun Tools provides legal information for every state and DC.