NY concealed carry restrictions unconstitutional: Is SCOTUS right?
- The Second Amendment of the US Constitution ensures “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
- On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen case to rule a New York state law that required persons provide “proper cause” before carrying a gun as unconstitutional. The new ruling affects states such as California, Maryland, New Jersey and others that have similar legislation that the decision says “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.”
- A May 2022 Quinnipiac poll found that “49 percent of voters say crime is the most urgent issue, followed by affordable housing (15 percent) and homelessness (12 percent).”
- A June 2022 USA Today/Ipsos poll found that 69% of Americans favor stricter gun laws with more support coming from Democrats (88%) and less from Republicans (50%).
Proponents of the Second Amendment cite the clause that says “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed” as their basis for opposing gun control. However, these proponents fail to realize that the First Amendment has a similar clause, “Congress shall make no law...” Yet there are restrictions placed upon and embedded within the First Amendment. If free speech, which cannot directly kill a person, has restrictions, it stands to reason the Second Amendment can likewise be restricted, especially in light of the potentially lethal danger it poses to society.
Consider for a moment the Uvalde shooter, who at 18 was able to purchase firearms without issue. If libel and slander, which are not deadly, are restricted due to the damaging effect they can have on a person, why then would restrictions on firearms—that could limit atrocities such as Uvalde—be considered off the table? In actuality, there are already limitations upon the Second Amendment, such as firearms being forbidden within government buildings and the restriction on automatic firearms made after 1986. Thusly, while New York placed restrictions on concealed carry, they were not the first to place restrictions on firearms. Furthermore, New York did not forbid concealed carry; instead, any US citizen who was able to demonstrate a ‘specific need for self-defense’ were granted access to a full concealed carry permit and could carry a concealed weapon between home and work.
Seeing as amendments to the Constitution can be limited when they pose a threat to society, and because of the inherent dangers associated with firearms, SCOTUS was wrong to overturn the restrictions set in place by New York.
In what some call the most important Second Amendment ruling in history, the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed and protected the explicit constitutional right for US citizens to keep and bear arms. The issue at hand was a New York state law required applicants to “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general public.” In other words, gun-carry permit applicants had to prove they had a need above any non-applicant to carry a weapon. Further, licensing officials were granted discretion to deny licenses if they perceived the applicant did not or could not meet that threshold.
As Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion, state licensing systems may not be mere smokescreens for “outright prohibition, unequal protection, or unacceptable delay.” For years, activists and liberal state legislatures have tried to find ways around the Second Amendment. This was New York’s attempt. The Supreme Court noted there is nothing in the right to bear arms found in the Second Amendment that distinguishes between having a weapon at home versus carrying a weapon in public.
The ruling did not say there could be no restrictions when issuing carry permits. Rather, it said there can still be restrictions on a categorical basis, such as a prior felony conviction, but it cannot be subjective. Namely, an official cannot deny a permit merely because that official does not believe the applicant needs a gun. The Supreme Court correctly ruled it is not up to the state to subjectively determine who can and cannot be granted a firearm carry permit.