SCOTUS Strikes Down New York Gun Law

Concealed handgun.

CNN reports while the nation comes to grips with a major decision by the new 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court that could drastically alter the debate over gun control policy in the United States for generations:

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York gun law enacted more than a century ago that places restrictions on carrying a concealed gun outside the home.

“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court’s 6-3 majority.

Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, who was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, each filed concurring opinions stressing the limits of Thursday’s ruling.

“Our holding decides nothing about who may lawfully possess a firearm or the requirements that must be met to buy a gun. Nor does it decide anything about the kinds of weapons that people may possess,” Alito wrote.

Despite this caveat, the decision is being widely interpreted as a sweeping invalidation of all kinds of gun laws–though the full extent will itself have to be litigated:

The US Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday to strike down a New York gun law that places restrictions on carrying a concealed gun outside the home “expands the Second Amendment right,” CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

“What we don’t know is if it completely eliminates the possibility for any sort of gun regulation,” he said. “It is possible that red flag laws may still be intact after this.” [Pols emphasis]

We’re watching for local analysis of this decision and how it may impact Colorado’s gun safety laws.

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Negev and Moderanus are going to be insufferable today.

  2. MichaelBowman says:

    Are they silent on tenant rights?  Surely #BangBang can mold today's decision into a lawsuit for violating her civil rights? 

    Lauren Boebert may be forced to close her gun-themed restaurant after landlord yanks her lease

    Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) could lose her Hooters-inspired, gun-themed restaurant in a dispute with her new landlord.

  3. spaceman2021 says:

    Ah good, the originalists are out in the field again, playing bad amateur historians.  

  4. Reason Wins says:

    The pearl clutching hyperbole about this decision is an over reaction.  It is actually a fairly narrow decision that does not expand a 2A right, it affirms the right that is already enumerated. Simply put, a person doesn't have to PROVE a need for self defense.  Everyone is equally entitled to self defense (excepting of course those who are not legally allowed to own a firearm). This is pretty much how Colorado's CC law works.  So long as a person completes the requirements set forth, and pays the fee, a county sheriff SHALL issue the permit.  Need is not a factor.  Colorado's CC laws are constitutional, the NY law was not.

    • spaceman2021 says:

      Enumerated right?  You mean the one that starts with "A well-regulated militia . . . "?  DC v. Heller was 5-4, and the majority butchered the history.  But that's what result-oriented originalists do.  But do tell me how more guns makes us more free and more safe

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Your interpretation of a decision is intriguing:  SCOTUSblog shared an article from Howe on the Court saying “Going forward, [Justice] Thomas explained, courts should uphold gun restrictions only if there is a tradition of such regulation in U.S. history.”  I’m certainly not going to guess what the gun rights advocates will consider to be “a tradition” of regulation in US history — especially since the Court just struck down a 100 year old law in New York without examining how the law actually worked in practice over the 100 years it was in effect. How many states and how many years make a tradition of regulation in the United States?

      CNN’s source says: 

      “The majority’s expansion of what the Second Amendment protects will have monumental ramifications far beyond carrying firearms in public — on everything from age restrictions to assault weapons bans to limits on high-capacity magazines,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

      “We’re in for a whole new slew of litigation challenging any and every gun-control measure in light of the analysis in today’s ruling,” Vladeck said.

      The 6-3 decision is going to take a bit of parsing:  it actually is

       * an opinion by Justice Thomas,

       * a concurring opinion by Justice Alito,

       * a concurring opinion of Justice Kavanaugh and Chief Justice Roberts, and

       * a concurring opinion by Justice Barrett


       * a dissenting opinion by Justice Breyer with Justices Sotomayor and Kagan joining.

      • I agree with this analysis. The ruling is limited possibly only to obtain that sixth vote. But the “no tradition or history” argument (where “history” dates to prior to the enactment of whatever law they want to overturn) is turning out to be one of the new Court’s illogical justifications in issuing rulings.

        Another is the “literal wording” argument, seen in the recent ruling in favor of an insurance company lowballing payments for outpatient dialysis. Congress outlawed discrimination against end-stage renal failure patients; SCOTUS agreed that the procedure was only 99.95% exclusive to end-stage renal failure patients, so it wasn’t discriminatory against them.

        And prep for the “regulations must be passed by Congress in to law” ruling against the EPA, coming in the next week or two.

        Right-wing legal minds have been prepping for this for decades; it looks like the go signal has been given, and 5 members of the Court are regularly on board.

  5. ParkHill says:

    You can cherry-pick any random anecdote you want from history. Which anecdote is the legally “correct” one?

  6. Duke Cox says:

    It is important to remember who nominated three of these justices.

    They were, and are, as dishonest as he.

  7. The only thing I'll say in favor of this ruling is that when I lived in Western NY years ago, the law was applied very differently based on the sheriff in charge of your county. Even between rural counties, one county would issue permits at the drop of a hat while the next had a virtual no-issue policy. Anyone determined to get a permit could move (where real estate was cheap) to get a permit, so as with gun control across state borders, it was of mixed effectiveness; the truly obsessed gun souls got permits, the indifferent were ok with guarding their homes.

  8. coloradosane says:

    Glad I don't live in Forest Hills,  Queens, anymore.  Russian Mob used battery powered drills to get your attention. At least we can protect against that….

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