Reports: SCOTUS appears open to striking down New York’s tight restrictions on concealed carry permits

A number of Democrat-run states have a history of being particularly hostile to the Second Amendment — and New York is no exception.

The Empire State has especially strict laws surrounding the issuance of concealed permits, laws that challengers say are wholly unconstitutional. Now, reports indicate that the U.S. Supreme Court is giving its clearest signal yet that it will strike down what many see as an illegal licensing scheme in New York state, Fox News reports.

Oral arguments were heard Wednesday in the case of New York Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which challenged a provision of New York’s law requiring applicants to prove “proper cause” or give a specific reason in order to be granted a concealed carry permit by the state.

By all accounts, a majority of the justices on the bench signaled by way of questioning and commentary that they’re highly skeptical of the legality of putting such restrictions on a fundamental constitutional right.

Skeptical of constitutionality

SCOTUSblog reported that, unsurprisingly, the three liberal justices on the high court seemed to align with arguments put forth in favor of the measure by attorneys representing both the state of New York as well as President Joe Biden’s administration.

But they are outnumbered by the rest of the jurists, who reportedly poked holes in the state and federal governments’ arguments and signaled an inclination to protect the Second Amendment from arbitrarily enforced infringements.

Several of the justices took issue with New York’s apparent dismissal of general self defense as a valid reason to carry a firearm, and called out the state for unevenly applying the restrictive “proper cause” provision, claiming high-density urban areas were subject to more stringent enforcement.

Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, noted that such enforcement tactics were dubious, considering the need for self defense from crime tends to be greater in highly populated regions.

Broad implications?

Should the Supreme Court rule against the New York “proper cause” requirement, as it seems like they will, the decision would likely be narrowly applied, SCOTUSblog noted.

Indeed, the seemed to be an agreement among the justices and attorneys that, this particular restriction aside, governments still retain the right to impose some limits on the exercise of the Second Amendment, such as banning the carry of concealed firearms, even by licensed individuals, in certain “sensitive places” where large crowds are gathered or where alcohol is present.

That said, the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), which filed a brief in support of the challengers to New York’s law, pointed out that any decision striking down the state’s “proper cause” law would also be applicable to several other Democrat-run states that have imposed similar infringements on citizens seeking permits to carry concealed.

“After today’s arguments, it’s clear that bans on the Second Amendment right to bear arms are unconstitutional and their days are numbered,” Brandon Combs, founder and president of the FPC, said in a statement. “Anti-rights states like New Jersey, California, Hawaii, New York, and Maryland will almost certainly be forced to respect the Constitution and allow their law-abiding residents to carry handguns for self-defense in public.”

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