Reports: Supreme Court seems inclined to strike down New York law severely restricting concealed carry

Supporters of the Second Amendment may soon be handed a victory, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A new report from Fox News suggests a majority of SCOTUS justices are leaning toward handing down a verdict that strikes down New York’s overtly strict regulations on concealed carry permits.

The court heard oral arguments Wednesday in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, a case centered on a provision in New York state’s concealed carry licensing scheme that requires applicants to show “proper cause” or a specific reason — above and beyond just self defense — in order to be granted a permit.

Right to self-defense

According to Fox, several of the conservative-leaning justices grilled New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood on her defense of the law, and particularly over how it seemed enforcement of the measure was more stringent in high-density urban areas compared to more low-density rural areas.

The jurists aptly pointed out that the need to be armed for self defense is likely greater in the areas where concealed carry is currently being more heavily restricted.

“All these people with illegal guns [in the city], they’re on the subway, they’re walking around the streets,” Justice Samuel Alito said, according to CNBC, “but the ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding people I mentioned — no, they can’t be armed.”

To be sure, while the majority of justices seemed inclined to rule against the New York law, Fox said, hopes that the court would use this opportunity to more broadly expand gun rights were likely dashed, as there was a discussion of accepting that the government could prohibit the carrying of firearms in “sensitive places.”

Indeed, SCOTUSblog reported that, in all likelihood, a final ruling from the court on this case will be a narrow one, focused solely on the “proper cause” provision of the New York law that, in effect, grants law enforcement officials and unelected bureaucrats the authority to arbitrarily approve or deny an individual’s right to bear arms outside their home or place of business.

That would still be a monumental decision, though. CNBC notes that at least seven other states currently have similar restrictions on concealed carry permits that could end up being struck down.

Lasting impact

According to the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), which filed an amicus brief in support of the challenge to the New York law, those states include California, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey, among others.

“Today the Supreme Court heard arguments in what may become one of the most important cases it ever decides. A majority of the Court appears poised to restore the original meaning of the right to bear arms and secure the natural right of self-defense,” Joseph Greenlee, director of constitutional studies for the FPC, said in a statement. He added:

Nevertheless, while we are optimistic about the outcome in this case, FPC will continue to execute our mission to advance individual liberty and remain eager to present the Court with its next major opportunity to restore Second Amendment rights.

A final ruling in this case likely won’t be released until June 2022 — but based on how the oral arguments went Wednesday, gun owners living in states where Democrat leaders are adamant on restricting Second Amendment rights may finally have something to look forward to.

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