US Supreme Court invalidates New York restrictions on concealed carry permits

In a U.S. Supreme Court term that is shaping up to be one for the ages, by a margin of 6-3, the justices on Thursday ruled that New York state restrictions on the ability to obtain concealed carry permits represent a violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, as the Daily Wire reports.

The case at issue, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen revolved around a state statute dating back to 1911 which provided that a citizen seeking a permit to carry a concealed weapon outside the home must demonstrate “proper cause” in the form of a “special need for self-defense.”

As such, permit applicants were required to present evidence of something more compelling than a simple wish to protect the safety of themselves or their property, and a failure to satisfy the state of such would result in the issuance only of a “restricted” license allowing a firearm to be carried outside the home for purposes such as hunting or in the course of employment, as National Review noted.

Writing for the court’s majority, Justice Clarence Thomas aptly declared, “We know of no other constitutional right that individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”

Further underscoring the unique treatment given the constitutional right to bear arms by the New York statute, Thomas added, “That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”

Thomas also noted that in 43 states, authorities must issue requested permits to those meeting defined criteria, and they are not afforded any discretion when it comes to determining what constitutes an appropriate need.

Though critics of the decision – including New York City Mayor Eric Adams – have predicted that such a ruling would turn the Big Apple into a “wild, wild west” type of atmosphere, Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted in a concurring opinion that the court’s decision does not preclude state legislatures from declaring specific requirements for securing a concealed carry license.

In doing so, Kavanaugh referenced the court’s prior decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller in support of the notion that some restrictions on concealed carry permits are certainly enforceable by states, but that the opinion in Bruer “addresses only the unusual discretionary licensing regimes.”

Unsurprisingly, the outcome spurred a host of hyperbolic reactions from the left, with commentator Keith Olbermann opining, “It has become necessary to dissolve the Supreme Court of the United States.” If the unemployed left-wing pundit was that exercised about the result in Breuer, just imagine how apoplectic he must be now that Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land.