Author Topic: In major Second Amendment case, court will review limits on carrying a concealed gun in public  (Read 107 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Elderberry

  • TBR Contributor
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,902
SCOTUSblog By Amy Howe 10/27/2021

Next Wednesday, the justices will hear argument on the scope of the right to bear arms — and their eventual decision could decide the fate of many state and local gun-control measures around the country.

In major Second Amendment case, court will review limits on carrying a concealed gun in public

The Second Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” On Nov. 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on how that guarantee applies to carrying guns in public. The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, involves a 108-year-old handgun-licensing law in New York – but if the justices side with the challengers, their decision could jeopardize gun-control laws in other states and cities across the country.

Both sides in the case agree that the Constitution protects a right to carry a handgun outside of the home for self-defense, but they have very different views on whether and when the government can place restrictions on that right. The court’s decision is likely to be a major ruling on gun rights, and it could hinge on the justices’ view of the history of gun rights in England and the United States – a history that, like the right itself, the parties to the case hotly dispute.

Unlike most other areas of the law, the court has few recent cases to guide its ruling. In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the justices held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court confirmed that the states – and not just the federal government – must respect that right.

In the 11 years since McDonald, the justices have said little else about the scope of the Second Amendment, and in particular the right to carry a handgun outside the home. In 2019, the justices heard oral argument in a challenge to a New York City rule that restricted the transport of licensed handguns outside the city, but they sent that case back to the lower courts after the city changed the rule. In that case, some of the court’s more conservative justices suggested that the lower courts were applying the rulings in Heller and McDonald too narrowly. One of those justices, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, urged his colleagues to take up another gun rights case soon. In April 2021, the court – now with a 6-3 conservative majority after the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett – did just that when it agreed to hear New York State Rifle & Pistol.


The New York law at the center of the case resembles gun-control measures in several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Many cities also have similar restrictions. It requires anyone who wants a license to carry a concealed handgun outside of the home to show “proper cause” for the license. Courts in New York have defined “proper cause” to require applicants to show a special need to defend themselves. For instance, a person who has been the target of recurrent physical threats likely would qualify. But a general desire to protect oneself or one’s property is not enough to obtain an unrestricted license to carry a concealed handgun. (New York generally does not allow “open carry,” the practice of carrying unconcealed guns in public.) 

« Last Edit: October 28, 2021, 12:23:49 pm by Elderberry »