The US Supreme Court, which hasn't issued a major gun-rights decision in over a decade, has agreed to review a New York case to decide whether the government must allow most residents to carry a handgun in public.
The appeal is from a New York gun-rights group and two individuals who say the state is violating their 2nd Amendment rights by only issuing concealed-carry licenses to those who can show a special need for protection, according to Bloomberg. The state has restricted carry rights since the 19th century.
This case is likely to pave the way to the Supreme Court declaring a constitutional right to concealed public carry, overriding many state and local restrictions on the ability to bear concealed arms in public. https://t.co/SDD4adTFhx— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 26, 2021
The case, which the court will consider during the nine-month term beginning in October, will put the Justices in the middle of a heated debate between gun control advocates and gun rights groups who are hoping that the three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump (who have consistently ruled against conservative interests) will stand behind the Second Amendment.
Concealed carry advocates believe that public gun possession is an issue of self-defense against criminals, as well as an issue of individual freedom. Opponents say that more guns equal more crime.
New York is one of eight states -- along with California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware and Hawaii -- that the National Rifle Association says prevent most people from getting a carry license. Illinois and the District of Columbia also had sharp restrictions before their laws were invalidated in court.
The restrictions have created a split among federal appeals courts, a dynamic that often prompts the Supreme Court to intervene. The high court has never said whether the Second Amendment applies outside the home. -Bloomberg
In its appeal, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association along with residents Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, have asked the high court to settle the matter.
"There is no Second Amendment issue more pressing than whether the fundamental, individual right to self-defense is confined to the home," the group argued in its filing. "A minority of jurisdictions seem determined to control the very people and rights that the Second Amendment promises ‘shall not be infringed."
The Supreme Court hasn't issued a gun-rights ruling since 2010, when it ruled that the Second Amendment applies to states and cities, along with the federal government and District of Columbia. In 2008, the Court ruled that people have a constitutional right to keep a handgun at home in order to defend themselves.
The state of New York urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal, arguing that the New York law "has existed in the same essential form since 1913 and descends from a long Anglo-American tradition of regulating the carrying of firearms in public," according to Attorney General Letitia James.