Supreme Court Issues Death Blow To Concealed Carry Law

REUTERS/Leah Millis

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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The Supreme Court struck down a New York State gun law that required individuals to show “proper cause” to obtain a concealed carry permit Thursday.

The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Keith M. Corlett, centered on two New York residents, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, who both applied for concealed carry permits in Rensselaer County but were denied by the licensing officer, who said the individuals “failed to show ‘proper cause’ to carry a firearm in public for the purpose of self-defense, because [they] did not demonstrate a special need for self-defense that distinguished [them] from the general public.”

New York bans the open carry of handguns but permits concealed carry so long as the applicant can prove “proper cause” exists. All licenses are issued by either the county sheriff or the court system.

Nash cited a string of robberies as his “proper cause” and noted he completed a firearm safety course. Koch relied on his “extensive experience in the safe handling and operation of firearms and the many safety training courses he had completed.”

The court ruled 6-3 that the “proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion. (RELATED: The Gun Control Legislation Will Strip You Of Rights – Than ‘Bankrupt’ You To Get Them Back)

“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,'” the court ruled. “The exercise of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate to government officers some special need.”

“The Second Amendment right to carry arms in public for self-defense is no different. New York’s proper-cause requirement 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.”

“Nothing in the Second Amendment’s text draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms,” Thomas wrote for the majority. “This definition of ‘bear’ naturally encompasses public carry. Most gun owners do not wear a holstered pistol at their hip in their bedroom or while sitting at the dinner table.”

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt called the ruling a “monumental victory.”

“I’m proud Missouri led the briefing in this case,” Schmitt tweeted. “This case is integral to the preservation of the Second Amendment and protects Missourians and Americans’ right to self defense.”

Justice Stephen Breyer, in his dissent, wrote “only by ignoring an abundance of historical evidence supporting regulations restricting the public carriage of firearms can the Court conclude that New York’s law is not ‘consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.'”

Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul lamented the ruling. (RELATED: Washington Residents Rush To Gun Stores Amid State’s New Gun Control Law)

“It is outrageous that at a moment of national reckoning on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who can carry concealed weapons.”

“In response to this ruling, we are closely reviewing our options — including calling a special session of the legislature,” Hochul wrote on Twitter. “Just as we swiftly passed nation-leading gun reform legislation, I will continue to do everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence.”

President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling.

“This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” he said. “I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line.”

Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz praised the Court’s ruling, saying, “The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that New York’s law was unconstitutional because it unquestionably infringed on our Second Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights.”

“I was proud to lead an amicus brief on behalf of 24 of my Senate colleagues making these exact arguments. This case’s vindication of the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home is an ever-present reminder of our duty as citizens to defend our constitutional rights from brazen attacks from the left,” Cruz added.