For the first time in about a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a major Second Amendment case that has significant implications for certain states with strict gun control laws.
The court this week heard oral arguments in a case challenging New York state’s restrictive concealed carry licensing regime, and though a final decision won’t be issued until next year, it was apparent that a majority of justices will likely rule against that law, The Boston Globe reported.
At issue in the case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, is a provision within New York’s concealed carry permitting statutes requiring applicants to show “proper cause” or a specific reason — above and beyond just general self-defense — in order to be granted a license.
The six Republican-appointed justices on the high court, by way of their comments and questions, seemed to strongly indicate that they viewed New York’s restrictive requirement as a violation of the Second Amendment’s stated un-infringeable right of the people to both “keep and bear” arms.
Likely favorable ruling
According to an analysis of the oral arguments by SCOTUSblog, the three Democratic-appointed justices unsurprisingly signaled their support for the arguments in favor of the restrictive law put forward by attorneys representing both New York, and the Biden administration.
Those three were clearly outnumbered by the other six jurists, though, who took turns poking holes and exposing and exposing the flawed logic within the state and federal governments’ arguments, particularly with regard to the disparity in permits actually issued to residents living in low-density rural areas versus high-density urban areas, given the greater need to be lawfully armed in high-crime urban settings as compared low-crime rural settings.
Yet, while the justices clearly signaled their disapproval of the “proper cause” requirement imposed on a constitutional right, it seems unlikely that the court will issue an expansive ruling on gun rights and instead will probably stay narrowly focused on the specific matter at hand.
Indeed, SCOTUSblog noted that several of the justices, as well as the pro-gun rights attorney, appeared to agree that states could still prohibit firearms in “sensitive places” — such as crowded public events or places where alcohol is served — and maintain some sort of “shall issue” as opposed to “may issue” licensing requirements for concealed carry.
Ruling is far-reaching
The Heritage Foundation noted that based on how the oral arguments session went, New York is facing a decidedly uphill battle in keeping its restrictive “proper cause” requirement in place.
That restriction, for all intents and purposes, has transformed a specifically enumerated right protected by the Constitution into a special privilege that states can grant and deny on a whim — an unacceptable situation that isn’t applied to any of the other natural rights listed in the Constitution.
To be sure, it is never easy to predict how the Supreme Court will rule on a given case, even when the outcome seems apparent based on the oral arguments, but the odds are definitely in favor of those who advocate on behalf of the Second Amendment against governments that infringe upon the God-given right.
Should the high court ultimately strike down New York’s “proper cause” provision for granting concealed carry permits, the ruling would almost certainly be applicable to several other Democrat-run, anti-gun states with similar restrictions, and that would be a huge win for gun rights proponents across the nation.