In a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court struck down a gun-carry law in New York on 2nd and 14th amendment grounds.

The case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) v. Bruen, the court ruled that New York's process for issuing concealed carry permits violated the Constitution by denying key rights to citizens. According to The Reload, the court determined that "allowing government officials to use subjective discretion when determining which applicants had a “good reason” to need a permit violated the Constitution, a decision which will impact at least seven other states."

The case was one of the two most closely watched before the Supreme Court. The New York law required those wishing to get a gun permit needed to prove it was for personal safety and protection. In his opinion, Thomas states "New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense."

The Justice also wrote that "a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees."

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Image via
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Image via

Outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissent for the minority, which was made up of the three progressive justices (Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan).

Many 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. It invokes the Second Amendment to strike down a New York law regulating the public carriage of concealed handguns. In my view, that decision rests upon several serious mistakes.

The decision was immediately cheered by conservatives and gun rights groups, which had objected to the New York law as a severe and unnecessary burden on those wishing to exercise their right to bear arms as guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment.


Several other states have laws that will be impacted by this ruling. Future lawsuits and challenges are expected.

Today's Thomas-authored opinion also happened to drop on his birthday. The Justice turns 74 years old today.

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