Supreme Court observers expect the court will soon issue a ruling on a New York gun law that could have major nationwide implications for the future of Second Amendment rights.
The law in question is a 108-year-old policy that makes it difficult for residents to obtain a permit to conceal carry a handgun outside of the home, according to The Washington Post.
“New York’s rules require a resident seeking a license to carry a firearm outside the home to demonstrate a ‘proper cause’ to obtain one, which state courts have said is a ‘special need for self-protection,” CBS News noted. “Challengers to the law argue the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms outside the home for self defense, while supporters warn invalidating the restrictions could lead to more firearms on the streets.”
In other words, as The Western Journal pointed out, New York is a “may issue” state — meaning authorities have great discretion in deciding whether residents can obtain a conceal carry permit — rather than a “shall issue” state, where the government is required to issue permits to applicants who meet basic requirements.
This policy has contributed to New York’s reputation as one of the nation’s least friendly states to Second Amendment rights.
But that might all be changing soon, depending on how the nation’s highest court rules in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.
“Any day now, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling that could eviscerate laws strictly limiting the public carrying of firearms,” Politico reported.
“Based on oral arguments in the fall, things aren’t looking good for New York,” the outlet added.
While many observers expect the ruling to be a win for supporters of the Second Amendment, there’s some debate regarding just how far it might go.
“Joseph Blocher, a law professor at Duke University and co-director of its Center for Firearms Law, said it’s unlikely the Supreme Court finds all permit requirements for public carry of handguns to be unconstitutional, which would be a sweeping decision mandating nationwide permitless carry,” according to CBS. “Instead, the high court could strike down the New York law on the grounds it is too strict or gives too much discretion to state licensing officials.”
George Mason University law professor and Second Amendment expert Nelson Lund suggested that much is still unclear.
The Supreme Court justices “could write an opinion that basically has very little effect beyond invalidating this particular statute, or they could also write an opinion that gives a lot of guidance about how far state and local governments may go,” Lund said.
New York City lawyer Jerold Levine, who specializes in gun cases and supports striking down the New York law, said it’s likely that the court’s ruling will mean residents of the state won’t be required to justify their need for a conceal carry permit.
And if New York’s restriction is struck down, then “across the country, there will be lots of laws that will be invalidated right away,” he told The Post.