The Supreme Court of the United States on Thursday ruled that New York state’s concealed carry laws, which strictly limited carrying guns outside the home, are unconstitutional, citing the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. The case, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. et al. v. Bruen, Superintendent of New York State Police, et al., was decided on a 6-3 majority, with the three liberal justices in dissent.
The New York law previously required people seeking a license to carry a gun show “proper cause.” The decision to overturn these laws has far-reaching implications for other states and localities that have similar laws, including California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.
The main parties to the lawsuit, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, had received gun licenses for target practice and hunting away from populated areas but had not received completely unrestricted licenses. Mr. Koch had received a license to carry a gun to and from work.
“Petitioners claim that New York’s law effectively bans the carrying of handguns for self-defense outside 2 the home, even though petitioners Nash and Koch received concealed-carry licenses that do allow handgun carrying for self-defense in certain places and circumstances” stated New York solicitor general Barbara Underwood in a brief to SCOTUS. The brief continues, “To establish proper cause for a New York concealed-carry license for self-defense, an applicant must show a self-defense need that is “actual and articulable,” as opposed to “speculative or specious.”
However, the law also states that “An applicant satisfies the “proper cause” requirement only if he can “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.” The Supreme Court struck down the proper-cause requirement as unconstitutional, citing District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul immediately responded to the SCOTUS ruling by calling the decision “shocking” and calling a special session of the New York state legislature in Albany. The state’s senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said, “the Supreme Court today decided that guns are more important than lives.”