The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York law that made it illegal to carry a firearm in public without showing a special need for protection.
The court ruled that the state’s concealed carry law violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution — a major decision that expands the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The opinion came at the same time Congress is considering new gun control legislation following two deadly mass shootings.
In a 6-3 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court found that New York’s law requiring gun owners to demonstrate a need for self-defense in order to carry a firearm “is demanding.”
“[T]he Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Thomas wrote.
The decision has the potential to make similar concealed carry laws unconstitutional in some states. They include California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The liberal wing of the court, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented in the opinion, with Breyer writing the dissent.
“The question before us concerns the extent to which the Second Amendment prevents democratically elected officials from enacting laws to address the serious problem of gun violence,” he wrote.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he was disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision, and that “we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans.”
“I urge states to continue to enact and enforce commonsense laws to make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence,” Biden said. “For centuries, states have regulated who may purchase or possess weapons, the types of weapons they may use, and the places they may carry those weapons.”
The decision came as the Senate is moving to pass bipartisan gun control legislation by the end of this week. Some provisions would provide funding for states to enact their own red flag laws, which allow the courts to temporarily remove a firearm from an individual who poses a threat to themselves or others.
Breyer argued that states might enact different firearm laws based on their makeup. For example, a state like New York, where more than 8 million people live in the city, would have different laws than Montana or Wyoming, “which do not contain any city remotely comparable in terms of population or density,” Breyer said.
“I fear that the Court’s interpretation ignores these significant dangers and leaves States without the ability to address them,” Breyer wrote.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement that the ruling will “put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence.”
“We will work together to mitigate the risks this decision will create once it is implemented, as we cannot allow New York to become the Wild West,” Adams said.
Breyer criticized the court’s narrow historical approach, rather than taking into account the current gun violence epidemic and recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.
In Buffalo, a white supremacist targeted a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood and murdered 10 Black people. In Uvalde, a gunman targeted an elementary school and killed 19 children and two teachers.
“I fear that history will be an especially inadequate tool when it comes to modern cases presenting modern problems,” Breyer wrote.
But Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito questioned Breyer’s reasoning for bringing up the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.
“And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo?” Alito wrote. “The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.”
States opposed to New York law
Most states broadly grant requests to carry guns outside the home.
Numerous states signed on to an amicus brief in 2021 siding with those challenging New York’s law, Brandon Koch and Robert Nash. They included Missouri, Arizona, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said his state and Arizona led the way in filing the brief. “This is a huge win for those seeking firearms licenses for self-defense and the preservation of the Second Amendment as a whole,” Schmitt said in a statement.
The two men who brought the case were granted a restrictive license that allowed them to carry their firearms for the purpose of hunting and target shooting.
But Koch and Nash wanted unrestricted licenses to carry concealed handguns for personal protection.
The licensing officer heard their petition and allowed them to carry their firearms for outdoor activities such as camping, fishing and hiking, and allowed Koch to travel with his firearm to and from work. The licensing officer determined that Koch and Nash were prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon in areas “typically open and frequented by the general public.”
Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said in a statement that the decision is a “watershed win for good men and women all across America and is the result of a decades-long fight the NRA has led.”
In November of last year, conservative justices on the Supreme Court expressed skepticism during oral arguments about New York’s strict limits on carrying a gun outside the home.
“Carrying a firearm outside the home is a fundamental, constitutional right,” attorney Paul Clement, arguing against the New York law, said in his opening presentation to the court
In reaction on Thursday, gun safety organizations, such as Everytown for Gun Safety, contended that many Americans are in favor of gun control laws.
“Today’s ruling is out of step with the bipartisan majority in Congress that is on the verge of passing significant gun safety legislation, and out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans who support gun safety measures,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, said in a statement.
“Let’s be clear: the Supreme Court got this decision wrong, choosing to put our communities in even greater danger with gun violence on the rise across the country.”
–Ariana Figueroa, Florida Phoenix
John Kociuba says
Red Flag Law “ex post facto” persecution and “ex parte” accusations null void and Unconstitutional. 🇺🇸
@Just in time for the future of mass murder
No coal roller’s window rack should be without
So what? This is what:
Come and get it
Good luck against this
I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.
— Ray Bradbury
Bill Mann says
Did New York City Mayor Eric Adams supply data showing how many legally licensed conceal carriers broke the law?
“overwhelming majority of Americans who support gun safety measures,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety stated. Does John have numbers to support this statement?
Of course neither one does, they just throw blather against the wall!
G A says
So people (Democrats and NPA especially) please listen up. THIS is why it is so very very very important to vote in the midterm elections and not sit it out. Sitting it out means the party in power gets to put whoever they want to on the Supreme Court. This disaster of a Supreme Court didn’t just happen overnight. Controlling the Supreme Court has been the Republican plan for years now. Whoever controls the Senate (with more than a one vote majority) controls who gets on the Supreme Court. It is glaringly apparent that even though these nominees swear up and down they are not political, THEY ARE. You get bet the bank on it.
Biden blew it for the dems. Highest inflation in 40 years on his watch. Highest gas prices ever. Vote blue until you yourself turn blue, it won’t change the outcome. You only have yourselves to blame. It has always been about the economy first and foremost, these other issues outside of that typically don’t affect people on a day to day basis. Red wave incoming.
According to the 2020 Census, Flagler county has approximately 113,000 residents. As of May 31, 2022, there were 18,692 concealed weapon permit holder. That’s about every one in six people have the right to carry in Flagler county. I would be willing to assume most anytime you went to the Walmart there was a law law-abiding citizen carrying his or her weapon. For the past 20 years I can not think of a time when this was an issue. Why can’t New Yorkers have the same privilege (RIGHT) we have in Florida.? I do believe any person who has a gun stolen out of a vehicle( left in vehicle over night) should pay a very high fine.
Like a previous post stated, show the facts and statics of permit carrying people committing all this terror.
Florida Voter says
I’ve stated many times before: The first half of the second amendment is a prerequisite clause for the second half (see today’s political cartoon https://flaglerlive.com/wp-content/uploads/guns-thomas.jpg ).
Please show me how carrying a concealed weapon in Walmart is part of a well trained citizen-army protecting our free nation. I have yet to see a convincing argument that allowing every Joe-Schmoe a permit to carry a concealed hand gun is in line with the complete second amendment.
The second amendment is just defining the right of the people to bear arms to secure their rights, one of which is the right to life. How can you do that if you have to keep your rifle at home and it isn’t supported by historical records between the founding fathers and citizens that stated that you can even have cannons as a commerce vessel to protect yourself beyond the time of war? Also, their meaning of regulated just means a healthy citizenry. Also, did you forget the last part of the amendment, Congress shall not infringe? That means essentially all regulation is technically illegal unless it bolsters the militia. We have proof nearly a couple of years after the ratification of the condition congress passed the first militia act that required certain amounts of ammo and powder to be stored by all men 18 and up (also known as the militia which was never a strict military force or national guard)
But let’s just move the amendment out of the way cause I doubt you care about it, logically it makes sense for citizens to be armed to be able to protect themselves from criminals since criminals will have weapons regardless of the laws, need proof, look at any place with gun prohibition. Guns are estimated to prevent 1 million to 4 million crimes per year in the united states depending on the study you are looking at, compared to the 20k deaths with the bulk of deaths being suicides which even account for them offsets the positive outcomes of guns. The vast majority of crimes that are prevented with firearms end with neither party dying so if you feel bad for the thief sticking people up cause he’s poor, his life gets protected, and the victim’s life gets protected.
Either way, you want to go about this, the right for a citizen to be armed in public is legally, morally, and logically justified. If you don’t like this then move to California, if you want your life to depend on rascist cops that have no legal obligation to protect you then hey, American republicanism is supposed to be diverse between States.
@Another long-winded Libertarian Party preacher
setting up the straw men and knocking them over.
You forgot to mention the real agenda: the intimidation of most people, any time and any place, by armed nut cases; and your God, unaccountable power of private wealth.
So much for principled consistency and opposition to coercion.
And so it goes.
How is that a libertarian position? I simply made the case that private gun ownership have positive events in times of peace, I’m sorry the only people who would be intimidated by guns in public are criminals. Criminals should be scared to commit crimes against people since like I said it deters a escalation on either side preserving the life on average of both parties. I don’t think most gun owners are but cases and they usually think people who don’t want their daughter to have a firearm in areas with the highest rates of rapes also known as cities are nuts or that the same people who don’t like cops and want to defund them either literally or reduce their funding also don’t want guns. That literally makes no sense.
I wonder how many murderers think to themselves “Gee, I really would like to commit murder today, but I haven’t gotten my concealed carry permit application approved yet!” It’s so silly to have states that trample on the second amendment right to carry (bear arms) for self-defense. If you have to convince the government of your need to exercise a right, then that right is being infringed upon. Anyone who is legally allowed to carry a gun (i.e. not a felon, passes a background check), should be able to without needing to explain why they feel they need to protect themselves.
So many things today are being told to us are “constitutional rights” but it’s specifically this one that actually is ingrained into the Constitution that is under attack.
Please understand that New York was not always that way. I lived NY for over 40 years. At 21, I applied for a carry permit. Went through the process of background check, printing and training. The process was easy and fair as long as you passed everything. Then about 15 years ago, New York had a different idea. Make if so hard to get a permit, almost everyone no longer qualified.They revoked my permit, stating that I did not have proper cause or need to have my permit after over 25 years of my carry permit. Never as much as a speeding ticket! Democrats just hate guns.
I’m sure this will never be posted, as it seems that I am blocked by your liberal paper. These are the facts though.
R. S. says
This jumps into the face of any of the related facts. SCOTUS is definitely politicized. It’s a sad state of affairs.
The SC focusing on original verses living interpretations of the Constitution begs the question. When the if was written the type of weapons where single shot muskets.. the bullet as we know it today was not invented until 1847. So history proves that the founders had a totally different intent of allowing ownership, use and carrying of weapons. Fine with me if everybody who wants to carry carries a single shot musket. Any weapon using ammunition designed or manufactured after 1847 clearly violates the historical intent and meaning of the Constitution.