The Supreme Court struck down New York’s century-old law against carrying concealed weapons on Thursday, a decision that could lead to more guns on the streets.
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court’s six conservative justices voted to invalidate the law with Justice Clarence Thomas writing the majority opinion in the case. Thomas wrote that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense 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,” Thomas wrote, according to ABC News.
The case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, involves a state requirement that applicants for concealed carry permits show “proper cause” — a unique need for individual self-protection — in order to be approved.
New York gun owners Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, challenged the law as being unconstitutional, reports CNBC News. The men were granted a limited license for concealed carry by state authorities, but they were forbidden from possessing a weapon in places frequented by the public.
New York Supreme Court Justice Richard McNally, who handled both requests, ruled that neither man had shown proper cause to carry guns in public because they failed to demonstrate that they had a special need for self-protection.
State officials in New York argued its permitting regime is rooted in history and tradition and critical to limiting the threat of gun violence in sensitive places. Seven other US states – home to more than 80 million Americans – have similar “proper cause” permitting regimes.
The New York Post, in reporting on this story, pointed out that the ruling could lead to more weapons on the streets, “as well as subways, churches, bars, airports and just about anywhere people gather.”