WASHINGTON, D.C. - With just a couple opinion days left in this session to release much-anticipated opinions on guns and abortion, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released its work involving a Second Amendment case Thursday.
The majority decision (6-3) was written by Justice Clarence Thomas and states that the constitutional right to carry a firearm does not require the bearer to demonstrate a special need to the government in order to carry.
The gist of the law in question (New York) stated that if a person wanted to carry a firearm outside his home or place of business for self-defense, he was required to obtain an unrestricted license, which required him to show "proper cause."
In the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen case, SCOTUS ruled:
"Nothing in the Second Amendment’s text draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms. We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant's right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense."
The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not "a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees."
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.
Consequently, New York's proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.
"This does not strike down any requirement for a concealed carry license. It does mean that you can't require people to show a need to get the concealed carry license," said an Ohio attorney in response to the SCOTUS decision.
Justice Alito, in a concurring opinion wrote, “Our holding decides nothing about who may lawfully possess a firearm or the requirements that must be met to buy a gun. Nor does it decide anything about the kinds of weapons that people may possess.”
Dissenters of the majority opinion, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, pushed the hot-button topic of mass-shootings in their attempt to argue against the decision.
Alito questioned their wisdom and reasoning. “Why, for example, does the dissent think it is relevant to recount the mass shootings that have occurred in recent years? ... Does the dissent think that laws like New York’s prevent or deter such atrocities? Will a person bent on carrying out a mass shooting be stopped if he knows that it is illegal to carry a handgun outside the home? And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.”