A Year after Bruen
The current Second Amendment test leaves questions
One year ago, on June 23, the Supreme Court decided New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Justice Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion invalidated a New York law requiring applicants for concealed-carry permits to show “proper cause” — a special need to carry a gun, above and beyond a basic desire for self-defense.
Striking down the law made sense enough. The Court had already noted, in 2008’s Heller v. District of Columbia, that the right to “bear” arms meant the right to carry them. Further, New York banned the open carry of firearms entirely — meaning a concealed-carry permit was the only way to carry a gun. The good-cause requirement thus made it impossible for not just many but most individuals to bear arms, subject to the whims of government officials. That’s not how a right works.
The Court also took the opportunity of Bruen, however, to lay out a new test by which courts would evaluate gun laws in general.
Photo by Douglas Rissing/iStock