In a massive victory for gun rights advocates, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that "proper cause" requirements for a concealed carry license violate the Second Amendment. The 6-3 decision, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, is the first major gun rights case decided by the Supreme Court in over a decade.
At question in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen was a New York law that allowed officials to act with discretion in determining whether one could possess a concealed carry permit.
New York, as well as other jurisdictions with similar laws, required applicants to submit a “proper cause” for their carrying a weapon. As libertarian commentator John Stossel demonstrated in a 2016 viral video, this often resulted in a permit being near-impossible to procure, even with several documented death threats on record.
The Court found that these laws were overly restrictive, with only Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer dissenting.
Thomas wrote in the majority opinion:
In [D.C. v. Heller], 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. [...] Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution.
Per Fox News, it appeared likely that the Supreme Court would side with gun owners over New York during oral arguments.
"Why isn’t it good enough to say I live in a violent area and I want to defend myself?" Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who sided with the majority, asked.
It is hard to overstate how encouraging this decision is for individuals who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights even under the tyranny of blue states. This opinion cuts into the de-facto concealed carry bans, enabling some of the most vulnerable Americans to defend themselves as violent crime continues to rise.
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