Supreme Court Agrees to Keep New York Gun Control Measure In Place – For Now


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The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday left in place the state of New York’s updated concealed carry law that, among other things, prohibits the carrying of guns in “sensitive locations” as lower court proceedings against the statute proceed.

The nation’s highest court rebuffed a request from gun rights groups to block the law after justices ruled over the summer in a 6-3 decision that a previously concealed carry statute upon which the current one is modeled unconstitutionally restricted a citizen’s Second Amendment rights.

“No justices dissented in the ruling, but Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said in a statement that they believed the ruling was to ‘reflect respect’ for the appeals court that had previously let the law stay in effect, and did not ‘[express] any view on the merits of the case,'” Forbes noted in a summary of the ruling.

“Gun owners asked the Supreme Court to block the law after a district court judge previously blocked it from staying in effect, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals then overruled that decision and let the law stand as the litigation against it moved forward,” the report noted further.


The new law, which was quickly passed after the nation’s high court struck down a previous concealed carry law in June that required applicants to show “proper cause” to carry a gun, implements requirements to obtain a concealed carry license while also imposing specific guidelines and restrictions about when guns can be carried in public. “Sensitive” locations include barring firearms from being carried in and near schools, churches, and hospitals.

The legality and constitutionality of the New York law will now play out in lower courts but will likely again come before the U.S. Supreme Court, especially given the take from Thomas and Alito that Wednesday’s decision has nothing to do with deciding the merits of the case itself.

In June, the high court issued its most significant pro-Second Amendment decision in nearly two decades when justices ruled 6-3 that New York’s concealed carry law was unconstitutionally restrictive.

The ruling, experts say, is significant because it means similarly restrictive concealed carry laws, limited primarily to blue states, are also likely to be successfully challenged.

“This decision is a big deal,” FiveThirtyEight noted in the wake of the ruling. “Previously, the court had only said that the Constitution protected the ability to have a gun inside the home for self-defense. In that decision, which came down in 2008, the justices didn’t rule on how guns carried outside the home could be regulated. It took almost 15 years for the justices to come back to that question, but now they have.”


The Second Amendment “protect[s] an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion for Thursday’s ruling. As such, FiveThirtyEight continued, statues like the one in New York, “which required people who wanted a license to carry a concealed handgun in public to show they have a good reason, are no longer allowed.”

The analysis went on to predict a “flood” of new litigation in states with similarly restrictively concealed carry laws.

But this major case wasn’t the high court’s only Second Amendment ruling, and in fact, SCOTUS likely opened the door to much of the expected new litigation.

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“The Supreme Court said Thursday that gun cases involving restrictions in Hawaii, California, New Jersey and Maryland deserve a new look following its major decision in a gun case last week,” the Western Journal reported.

“In light of last week’s ruling — which said that Americans have a right to carry a gun outside the home — lower courts should take another look at several cases that had been awaiting action by the high court, the court said. Those cases include ones about high-capacity magazines, an assault weapons ban and a state law that limits who can carry a gun outside the home,” the outlet reported, noting that by sending the cases back to lower courts, these laws will now get a second look under the new standard applied in Thomas’ majority decision.