SCOTUS gun ruling could topple gun laws in blue states

Gun Rights

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down New York’s concealed carry law, similar restrictions in several other states may soon face successful challenges.

Justices ruled 6-3 in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that a state can’t demand its gun owners provide a justification when applying for a concealed carry permit. The ruling essentially said the people’s right to bear arms exists equally both inside and outside their homes.


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“This is more than just a great day for New York because this ruling opens the door to rightly change the law in the seven remaining states that still don’t recognize the right to carry a firearm for personal protection,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director at the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.

New York had for years relied on a “may issue” permitting system, which means that local officials had broader discretion to deny applications for concealed carry permits. New York law required applicants to show they had “proper cause” to carry a weapon in public.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who sided with the majority, wrote in a concurring opinion that the latest decision would not affect “shall issue” permitting rules in 43 states, which allow applicants to receive concealed carry permits as long as all the basic legal requirements are met.

Kavanaugh warned, however, that six states with may-issue permitting could face successful legal challenges.

“New York’s outlier may-issue regime is constitutionally problematic because it grants open-ended discretion to licensing officials and authorizes licenses only for those applicants who can show some special need apart from self-defense,” Kavanaugh wrote.

“Going forward, therefore, the 43 States that employ objective shall-issue licensing regimes for carrying handguns for self-defense may continue to do so,” he added. “Likewise, the 6 States including New York potentially affected by today’s decision may continue to require licenses for carrying handguns for self-defense so long as those States employ objective licensing requirements like those used by the 43 shall-issue States.”

California is among the states that allow local officials discretion in issuing concealed carry permits. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom called the ruling “dangerous” on Thursday as the future of his state’s concealed carry law became uncertain.

While some counties in California are effectively shall-issue counties, others take advantage of the state law that allows discretion to require that applicants show “good cause” to receive concealed carry permits.

Maryland’s attorney general said Thursday that his office would review the Supreme Court decision to determine how the state’s laws could be affected. Maryland gun owners, under current law, must have a “good or substantial reason” to obtain a concealed carry permit.

“Maryland, like many other states, has enacted common sense gun laws that place the lives and safety of our residents first. They have been proven to reduce gun violence,” Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement. “We will examine today’s ruling to determine its impact in our state, and we will continue to fight to protect the safety of Marylanders.”

Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island also enforce laws similar to the New York law.


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul responded with resolve to fight what could become a rush for concealed carry permits among her state’s gun owners on Thursday.

The Democratic governor said she would call a special legislative session to weigh new restrictions on where gun owners with concealed carry permits can take their weapons — thereby limiting the ability of New Yorkers to use their permits in practice.

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