2nd Amendment: SCOTUS's HUGE Pro-Constitution Ruling Explained

By Seth Cutler | Saturday, 25 June 2022 08:35
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The Supreme Court has dropped New York’s century-old law prohibiting the carrying of hidden firearms, its first major Second Amendment choice in more than a decade and an order that could lead to more guns on the streets.

Writing for the 6-3 majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said Thursday that the law’s demands of New Yorkers who aspire for a permit to carry a handgun in public to show “proper cause” that the weapon is ​especially needed for self-defense “violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”

Though the judgment affects New York law, it is likely to involve a handful of other states with similar permitting regimes, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

In a different opinion concurring with Thomas, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Thursday’s ruling does not preclude state and local restrictions on gun ownership by felons and the mentally ill — or laws banning the carrying of firearms in “sensitive locations” like schools and government buildings.

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“Properly interpreted, the Second Amendment allows a ‘variety’ of gun regulations,” wrote Roberts and Kavanaugh, who also noted that states can still make applicants for a firearm license “undergo fingerprinting, a background check, a mental health records check, and training in firearms handling and in laws regarding the use of force, among other possible requirements.”

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Mayor Eric Adams stressed at a news conference with NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell that “nothing changes today” as a result of the ruling, suggesting that the decision was remanded to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its earlier decision upholding the state law.

“If you have a premise permit, it does not automatically convert to a carry permit,” Sewell warned. “If you carry a gun illegally in New York City, you will be arrested. Nothing changes today, and that’s important for everyone to be aware of.”

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The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and two upstate men had challenged the Sullivan Act — on the books since 1913 — claiming it violated their Second Amendment rights.

Paul Clement, the lawyer working for the association, told the justices during oral arguments last November that his clients were seeking “nothing more than their fellow citizens in 43 other states already enjoy.” “Carrying a firearm outside the home is a fundamental constitutional right. It is not some extraordinary action that requires an extraordinary demonstration of need,” Clement said at the time.

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