SCOTUS Overturns Century Old NY Law That Restricted The Right to Bear Arms

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion for the Court
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It wasn’t the decision the entire country was waiting on, but the SCOTUS issued another controversial ruling this week, regarding a New York law that restricted the right to carry a handgun. Second Amendment supporters should like the decision.

In another 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court overturned a century-old New York law that required New Yorkers to be able to show “proper cause” to carry a handgun. The New York law stated that it is a “crime to possess a firearm without a license, whether inside or outside the home. An individual who wants to carry a firearm outside his home may obtain an unrestricted license to ‘have and carry’ a concealed ‘pistol or revolver’ if he can prove that ‘proper cause exists’ for doing so. N. Y. Penal Law Ann. §400.00(2)(f ). An applicant satisfies the ‘proper cause’ requirement only if he can ‘demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.’”

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion for the Court. Thomas wrote “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.” 

This Twitter user put it quite well: “My proper cause is the Second Amendment New York. Also the Fourteenth Amendment.”

New York’s Governor, a Democrat, spoke about her displeasure with the Supreme Court ruling. She said, in part, “… Shocking. Absolutely shocking that they have taken away our right to have reasonable restrictions. We can have restrictions on speech. You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. But somehow there’s no restrictions allowed on the Second Amendment. This is New York, we don’t back down. We fight back.”

Actor James Woods had something to say about that:

In their dissent, the three liberal justices wrote that “45,222 Americans were killed by firearms in 2020 and that gun violence has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents.” Justice Breyer, who penned the dissenting opinion, added that “[m[any states have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds. The court today severely burdens states’ efforts to do so.”

New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul, says she will continue to fight after the Supreme Court struck down the law. She even said, “I’m prepared to go back to muskets.” Likely, this battle is long from over, especially given what is currently being legislated in the U.S. Congress regarding gun violence. What do you think of this decision by the SCOTUS?

Stacey Warner

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