Legal Issues

New York Case May Tip the Balance of Gun Control (Part 2)

Rifle cartridges arranged to portray the U.S. flag in color

Despite New York having some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country, the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which is currently before the Supreme Court, may loosen or eliminate gun regulations in many parts of the country.

To read the first part to this story, click here.

The Heller Ruling’s Role in Bruen

New York is not novel or the first to tackle challenges to restrictions on the right of self-defense. In considering New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Supreme Court will focus on the meaning of a case that sets some very important precedent: District of Columbia v. Heller.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court handed down the Heller decision in 2008. Heller struck down Washington, D.C.’s ban on the possession of handguns in the home. This was the first time the High Court affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. However, the suit was centered on a law about possession within the home, not in public, so that dictated the narrowed focus of the ruling.

New York State Rifle and Pistol Association logo
Many believe that big government has the money and resources to impose its will, and the little guy is no match to resist or right the ship’s course. The NYSRPA is challenging that stereotype and heading to the Supreme Court on November 3.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion declaring that the “central component” of the Second Amendment was not a “well-regulated Militia” but rather “the inherent right of self-defense.” Although, the majority’s decision also included cautionary language that lower-court judges have relied on to uphold gun restrictions. Scalia wrote:

“The right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose…”

Recently, a question was posted on Cheaper Than Dirt’s social media channels asking whether felons should serve a lifetime firearms ownership ban. Opinions were mixed, and many lines were blurred. By contrast, Justice Scalia was clear in his opinion, which contained a list of “presumptively lawful regulatory measures,” such as restrictions on the possession of firearms by felons and support for bans on carrying firearms in sensitive places like schools or government buildings.

Concealed Carry

Not 50 years ago, concealed carry was banned or severely limited across most of the land. The National Rifle Association took up the call and began a campaign in the 1980s to reform or adopt concealed carry laws across the country. To say it was met with resistance from lawmakers would be an understatement.

The laws in most states and municipalities have become so deeply ingrained in the culture of government that citizens have little power to change them. Many believe that big government has the money and resources to impose its will, and the little guy is no match to resist or right the ship’s course.

Challenges via the court system have become our only hope. However, we win in a lower court only to have a judge from a higher court issue an injunction and slap away our rights until we can challenge the injunction and relitigate the case in a different court. This process repeats until we get the Supreme Court to agree to hear our pleas and lay the matter to rest.

On November 3, we hope for a favorable hearing in the Supreme Court — whose opinion cannot be overturned or set aside so easily. The hope is to finally achieve through the judicial system what we have failed to accomplish through the political process.

Rifle cartridges arranged to portray the U.S. flag in color
On November 3, we hope for a favorable hearing in the Supreme Court — whose opinion cannot be overturned or set aside so easily. The hope is to finally achieve through the judicial system what we have failed to accomplish through the political process.

Today, New York is in league with California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island by requiring citizens seeking a carry permit or license to show “proper” or “good” cause. That means, in reality, this case stretches far beyond the borders of those eight states. If favorable to the Second Amendment, the language of the majority opinion could become the turning point, as well as the basis of judges’ opinions for all Second Amendment cases in the future.

Beyond concealed carry, Bruen could join the ranks of the Heller and McDonald cases in shaping future court decisions. Cases seeking to strike down onerous and unnecessary legislation that restricts our Second Amendment right to take charge and exercise our right to self-defense. Cases that serve as the basis for decisions regarding so-called assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other items regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and House Resolution 17735 (more commonly referred to as the Gun Control Act of 1968).

Hopefully, in the years to come, we can look back and point to Bruen as a turning point. We will then see a pinpoint on the timeline when the Supreme Court released the shackles that bound and restricted our right to self-defense. For now, all we can do is wait for November 3 and look for clues in the questions and statements from the Justices of the High Court. Then, we will wait — impatiently — while we look forward to a decision in 2022.

Let’s hear your voice! Will New York’s laws be stricken down or upheld? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (12)

  1. Anyone else noticed that all of the mass shootings in this country happened in places where lawful gun owners and concealed carrier’s are not permitted to carry weapons… Schools, concert halls, stadiums… If the people In these places were able to defend themselves, I think the attacks would have had many less casualties.

  2. I have noticed that when the Supreme Court rules, it’s rulings are usually very narrow and very specific to the case at hand. Yes, if they rule New York’s ‘may issue’ system and laws are unconstitutional, then states with similar ‘may issue’ systems might be impacted. The wording of the ruling will be important.

  3. Folks, if you don’t know about the “great reset” and “agenda 2030” you might want to look it up.

    Hint: it means you and your family will be dead in less than 10 years.

  4. When in Wyoming, consider everyone armed as our laws respect the mighty 2nd. This is as it should be all across the land. Politeness & civility would reign. Rioting protestors would think twice before taking up a brick or Molotov cocktail against law enforcement or citizens!

  5. “The right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose…”

    Then the need for excersize of the inherent right for self-defense (the presumptive cause for such a right to exist) is necessarily limted?In todays World?
    I do not beleve Justice Scalia was being unduly optimistic to the basic premise, but was in fact unfortunately moderating for acceptance, the idea of unqualified legitimate individual empowerment and self-determination. Free individuals living in an uncertain World see the self-evidence, but trusting collectivists tend not to.

  6. We hope and pray that the Supreme Court of the United States rules in the favor of all law abiding citizens who wish to protect themselves and their loved ones wherever the need may/could arise. Yes, even the grocery store. As a former cop for nearly 40 years, I and many others believed in the right to bear arms for those reasons. We followed the Constitution and current laws/court decisions the best we knew how in this matter, at least in my state where concealed carry is legal thank heavens. We KNEW that we could not be everywhere at once and thus good law abiding citizens who had the legal right to own/possess firearms needed self protection. I’m not sure why certain state law makers think otherwise, unless backed by George Soros and gang. Anyway, get out and make sure your politicians know your stance. Fight the good fight, LEGALLY of course. If you sit on your hands and wait for others to do all the work….then good decent people will lose…..just like the current Democratic machine is Washington D.C. is hoping for with all that is going on today and their continued efforts to take away our gun rights. That includes ammunition too. I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinion here and I’m not sorry for offending anti-gunners. Thank you.

  7. What will force the sc to render a definitive ruling on the Second Amendment? The niggling attempts to reverse decades of encroachment on the right to keep and bear arms are extremely frustrating. Citizens either have the right to keep and bear arms or they do not. Enough with the quibbling and glacial evocation of enormously expensive lawsuits.
    If politicians, lawyers, and jurists cannot understand the clear and concise language of the Second Amendment they should avail themselves of the interpretations of a professional semanticist. That is already available, written by Roy Copperud in his opinion solicited by J Neil Schulman and printed in the article “The Unabridged Second Amendment” which is widely available to anyone who takes the time to perform a search outside of google.

  8. I expect a win for 2A but not a BIG win. The decision will likely be very narrow and restrictive in how it can be applied to existing laws across the country. It is a kick the can situation. We will continue to be oppressed. We will continue to have lower court judges in 2A unfriendly districts ruling in ways that are contradictory to case law that has been settled by the supreme court.

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