Supreme Court overturns New York ruling that set high standards for concealed-carrier licenses

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The Supreme Court ruled Thursday 6-3 that New York regulations that made it difficult to obtain a license to carry concealed carry handguns are unconstitutionally restricted, and that it should be easier to obtain such a license.

The current standard requires the applicant to show an “appropriate reason” for obtaining a license, and is permitted New York officials To exercise discretion in determining whether a person has demonstrated good enough reason for needing to carry a firearm. Saying that one wanted to protect oneself or one’s property was not enough.

“In this case, the petitioners and the defendants agree that law-abiding private citizens have an equal right to carry handguns in public for self-defense. We also agree, and now believe, consistent with Heller and MacDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to Carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Judge Clarence Thomas wrote in the court opinion. “Because the State of New York issues general carry licenses only when the applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the state’s licensing system is in violation of the Constitution.”

The case was, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v Bruen, the first major gun rights case before the Supreme Court in more than a decade.

During the oral arguments, it seemed likely that the court’s conservative judges would rule against the state.

“Why isn’t it enough to say that I live in a region of violence and I want to defend myself?” Judge Brett Kavanaugh asked.

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In an exchange with Judge Samuel Alito, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood realized that if the applicant stated that the vacation worked late at night and had to walk from a subway station through a high-crime neighborhood to get home, that person would be denied because they did not mention a threat specified.

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“How does that fit into the essence of the right to self-defense?” asked Alito, explaining that this is the gist Second Amendment.


Governors have indicated that it would be reasonable to place restrictions on where a concealed firearm can be brought in.

This is an evolving story. Check back for more details.