Supreme Court Upholds Gun Rights in Major Second Amendment Ruling

The court ruled as one of its end-of-session decisions.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Supreme Court of the United States has struck down New York’s gun law that restricted access to concealed carry permits.
  • A 6-3 majority opinion along ideological lines was penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, who outlined the New York law’s violation of the Second Amendment.
  • “In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Thomas wrote in the Court’s opinion.
  • The state of New York argued that the “proper cause” standard allowed the state to determine if applicants had a state-recognized reason for needing the firearm, which gave ample opportunity to deny access to those who offered only a general desire to protect themselves.
  • The justice went on to say that New York’s policy to only issue concealed carry permits to applicants that demonstrate a need for self-defense violates the constitutional right to bear arms.
JOE BIDEN’S REACTION TO THE COURT’S DECISION:
  • Joe Biden released a statement hours after the court released its decision, saying he was “deeply disappointed” in the verdict. “Since 1911, the State of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self-defense and to acquire a license,” Biden wrote. “More than a century later, the United States Supreme Court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens. This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all.
  • “In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. I have already taken more executive actions to reduce gun violence than any other President during their first year in office, and I will continue to do all that I can to protect Americans from gun violence,” Biden went on to say.
  • “I urge states to continue to enact and enforce commonsense laws to make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence. As the late Justice Scalia recognized, the Second Amendment is not absolute. For centuries, states have regulated who may purchase or possess weapons, the types of weapons they may use, and the places they may carry those weapons. And the courts have upheld these regulations.”
  • “I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The New York gun control case is just one of almost a dozen rulings the Supreme Court is scheduled to hand down Thursday and Friday before the end of the term.
  • Also among them is Dobbs v. Jackson, an abortion case in which the court is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade. That decision will likely be published on Friday.