In a 6-3 Ruling, Supreme Court Struck Down New York Gun Control Law


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On Thursday, the Supreme Court released its ruling on New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that protects the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms. In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a 108-year-old NY gun law that required “proper cause” to carry a concealed weapon.  

New York’s Sullivan Act made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for average New Yorkers to obtain a concealed carry permit. The proper cause mandate required gun owners to prove a special need for a firearm that was “distinguishable from that of the general community.” Thus, under the Sullivan’s act, the only New Yorkers permitted to carry firearms are those with increased security risks, such as celebrities and politicians, like NYC mayor Eric Adams.  

While this case specifically dealt with the New York’s Sullivan Act, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen has implications for the entire country, particularly the blue states. The 6-3 decision will impact similar gun laws in states like California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Delaware.  

Justice Clarence Thomas majority opinion called into question the constitutionality of the Sullivan Act in the following:  

The exercise of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate to government officers some special need. The Second Amendment right to carry arms in public for self-defense is no different. New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.

Thomas opinion declares the Sullivan Act is unconstitutional because it conditions an inalienable right with special qualifiers. If a law only allowed individuals to exercise free speech by proving they had some special need, it would of course be considered unconstitutional and tyrannical by all Americans and legal scholars. Therefore, second amendment rights, and all other rights, are not second-class rights that can be wildly infringed. 

In his concurring opinion, Kavanaugh stated:  

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.

With this Supreme Court decision, many New Yorkers will exercise their right to carry a concealed firearm while in public. This right to self-defense is now critical in inner cities across America, especially in New York. NYC has seen a dramatic increase in violent crime since the start of COVID. As NYC continues to hollow out its police force, it is necessary for law-abiding citizens to be capable of protecting themselves.  

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, NYC mayor Eric Adams, who has a concealed carry permit, stated the following:   

Today’s Supreme Court decision may have opened an additional river that is going to feed the sea of gun violence in our city and in our nation. We cannot allow New York to become the wild, wild West. That is unacceptable. 

President Joe Biden also weighed in on the Supreme Court decision:   

I am deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling… The State of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self-defense and to acquire a license.  

Joe Biden’s statement severely mischaracterizes the NY gun law. By claiming that the Sullivan Act only required the public to show a need for self-defense, he completely overlooks the proper cause requirement at issue.  

By striking down the Sullivan Act, the Supreme Court delivered a victory for 2nd amendment advocates and believers in the U.S. Constitution.  

Dave Brown is the Co-Founder of The Great American Syndicate. Follow him on Instagram at @davebrownlive

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