Update (1211ET): An hour after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York state law requiring people to show a special need (such as a business owner handling cash) to carry a handgun outside the home in public, the White House released a statement from President Biden saying he was “deeply disappointed” with the ruling that “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all.”
Here’s the president’s statement:
I am deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Since 1911, the State of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self-defense and to acquire a license. More than a century later, the United States Supreme Court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens. This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all.
In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. I have already taken more executive actions to reduce gun violence than any other President during their first year in office, and I will continue to do all that I can to protect Americans from gun violence.
I urge states to continue to enact and enforce commonsense laws to make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence. As the late Justice Scalia recognized, the Second Amendment is not absolute. 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. And the courts have upheld these regulations.
I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, called the ruling “absolutely shocking,” and then she went off…
“We’re not powerless in this situation. We’re not going to cede our rights that easily, despite the best efforts of the politicized Supreme Court of the United States of America,” she began.
“No longer can we strike the balance … Shocking. Absolutely shocking that they have taken away our right to have reasonable restrictions. We can have restrictions on speech. You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. But somehow there’s no restrictions allowed on the Second Amendment. This is New York, we don’t back down. We fight back.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said officials will review licensing policies and how sensitive locations are defined, adding that “we cannot allow New York to become the Wild West.”
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, called the ruling “a watershed win” that resulted from a decades-long fight led by his organization.
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York state gun law that made it difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain a handgun carry permit outside their home in public for self-defense.
In an opinion penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court ruled 6-3 to strike down the New York law.
“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,” Thomas wrote for the court’s 6-3 majority.
Here are six justices who supported the majority opinion:
- Clarence Thomas
- Samuel Alito
- John Roberts
- Brett Kavanaugh
- Neil Gorsuch
- Amy Coney Barrett
… and the three justices who dissented:
- Stephen Breyer
- Sonia Sotomayor
- Elena Kagan
Thomas writes that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments safeguard Americans’ right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home. This is a major expansion of the Second Amendment right.
The court holds that New York’s “proper cause” requirement to obtain a concealed-carry license violates the Constitution by preventing law-abiding citizens with self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to defend themselves in public.
“In keeping with Heller, we hold that when the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. To justify its regulation, the government may not simply posit that the regulation promotes an important interest. Rather, the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command,’” Thomas wrote, quoting Konigsberg v. State Bar of California (1961).
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, which Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined.
“In 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms. Since the start of this year (2022), there have been 277 reported mass shootings—an average of more than one per day. Gun violence has now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents. Many States have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds. The Court today severely burdens States’ efforts to do so.”
Justice Alito was having none of it…
And Justice Thomas had an interesting perspective for liberals to argue with…
The decision will have an eventual impact on New York and six other states with a similar “proper cause” (or “May Issue”) requirement on the concealed carry of guns in public.
So how does this ruling affect those living in “May Issue” states? It gives gun groups in those seven states a precedent to challenge the “May Issue” to overturn. Then, the law-abiding citizen can apply for concealed carry without being denied.
SCOTUSblog responds to the ruling by saying: “What a great day for our Constitution!”
Here’s the full text: