U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS will consider Second Amendment right to carry a gun outside the home

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether the state of New York violates the Second Amendment when it denies law-abiding citizens the right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense.

The plaintiffs are the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and two individuals who were denied concealed-carry permits, according to the cert petition.

The plaintiffs contend that New York licensing law makes it “virtually impossible” for ordinary citizens to obtain a concealed-carry permit. The law allows concealed-carry licenses “when proper cause exists” while banning the open carry of firearms entirely.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New York upheld New York’s licensing regime in 2012 in Kachalsky v. Cty. of Westchester. In other cases, federal appeals courts are split on the issue, with the majority favoring Kachalsky’s limited Second Amendment views.

The Supreme Court had agreed in 2019 to hear another Second Amendment case involving New York City gun restrictions that barred residents from transporting handguns to a second home or shooting range beyond city limits. But the court tossed the case as moot in April 2020, when the city revised the law to allow such transport.

Three of the court’s conservative justices dissented on the mootness question and said the law violated the Second Amendment. A fourth justice concurred with the decision to dismiss the case but agreed with the dissent’s analysis of precedent.

The Washington Post and the New York Times are among the publications with coverage of the new cert grant. According to the New York Times, the Supreme Court declined to hear about 10 appeals in Second Amendment cases in June.

“Since it takes only four votes to grant review, there is good reason to think that the court’s conservative wing, which at the time had five members, was unsure it could secure Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s vote,” the New York Times reports. “Justice Barrett’s arrival changes that calculus.”

Hat tip to SCOTUSblog.

The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett.

The SCOTUSblog case page is here.

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