Supreme Court agrees to hear major gun rights case on concealed handguns

A major Second Amendment case regarding a New York gun law has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court which announced Monday that it has agreed to hear the appeal.

The high court announced Monday that it will consider the gun rights case, brought by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, over the state’s law on its citizens’ licenses to carry concealed handguns in public in order to defend themselves.

Likely to be argued later this fall, the case will position the Supreme Court to address whether the New York law is unconstitutional, focusing on the Second Amendment implications even as the justices have seemed to steer away from gun rights issues in recent years, and coming after a recent string of mass shootings in the U.S.

“The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the State’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment,” the court said in an order.

In a press release, the National Rifle Association noted the importance of the case.

“The court rarely takes Second Amendment cases. Now it’s decided to hear one of the most critical Second Amendment issues,” NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Jason Ouimet said. “We’re confident that the court will tell New York and the other states that our Second Amendment right to defend ourselves is fundamental, and doesn’t vanish when we leave our homes.”

New York is one of a handful of states that prohibit openly carrying firearms in public and limit who has the right to carry a gun, requiring those applying for a license to show that “proper cause exists.”

“New York regularly uses this requirement to deny applicants the right to carry a firearm outside of their home. The NRA believes that law-abiding citizens should not be required to prove they are in peril to receive the government’s permission to exercise this constitutionally protected right,” the NRA noted in its press release.

The state makes it “virtually impossible for the ordinary law-abiding citizen to obtain a license,” the petition to the court by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association stated, according to Roll Call.

“The time has come for this Court to resolve this critical constitutional impasse and reaffirm the citizens’ fundamental right to carry a handgun for self-defense,” the group told the Supreme Court.

“Good, even impeccable, moral character plus a simple desire to exercise a fundamental right is,” Paul Clement, who represented the challengers to the permit law, said, “not sufficient.”

“Nor is living or being employed in a high crime area,” added Clement, who is representing Robert Nash, Brandon Koch and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem responded to the NRA’s press release on Monday.

“Today SCOTUS agreed to review an important Second Amendment case that asks ‘whether New York’s denial of applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violates the Second Amendment?'” the Republican governor tweeted. “The answer, of course, is YES. Next question?”

“The Supreme Court had long avoided major cases that address the extent to which Congress or state lawmakers can pass laws that restrict firearms,” Roll Call explained. “The justices have passed on opportunities since 2010 to hear challenges to laws that ban semi-automatic rifles, limit the number of bullets a magazine can hold, clamp down on who can get a concealed-carry permit, institute waiting periods for firearm purchases and more.”

“It is hard to overstate how important this case is,” the NRA Institute for Legislative Action noted. “The decision will affect the laws in many states that currently restrict carrying a firearm outside of the home.”

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Frieda Powers

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