Law & the Courts

Supreme Court Agrees to Take Up Major Second Amendment Case

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (Molly Riley/Reuters)

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will take up a major Second Amendment case next term that centers on a New York law which prohibits the concealed carry of handguns in public.

The Supreme Court accepted a bid by two gun owners and a New York subsidiary of the National Rifle Association to challenge the state’s rejection of their applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense.

In an order released Monday, the justices said they will consider whether “the State’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of complainants Robert Nash and Brandon Koch after New York officials claimed the individuals did not meet the standard of “special need” and “proper cause” to qualify to hold firearms under state law. The state typically reserves concealed carry licenses for security professionals or others who can plausibly claim they face grave threats due to their occupation or public identity. Unlicensed individuals can keep handguns in their homes but are prohibited from traveling with them or carrying them in public.

Nash and Koch contend that the state’s limits on concealed carry are an infringement upon their Second Amendment liberty. The plaintiffs argued in their Cert Petition that the law on the books makes it “virtually impossible for the ordinary law-abiding citizen to obtain a license.”

According to the Giffords Law Center, a gun control activist organization, New York is one of 31 states that requires citizens to acquire a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon.

Over ten years have passed since the high court heard arguments and released a decision concerning the constitutional right to bear arms. The court will hear the case of NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett in the fall.

The court’s announcement follows the Biden administration’s pledge to address and expand gun control since the nation experienced several mass shootings in recent years. The justices’ ruling on the dispute could be transformative for the scope of the Second Amendment.

The ideological makeup of the court has solidified into a six-to-three conservative majority since the appointment and confirmation of originalist Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

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