The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York law restricting carrying guns in public, The New York Times reports.
The court ruled 6-3, with all six conservative justices voting to strike down a New York law requiring gun owners seeking a public carry license to show “proper cause.”
California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws on the books.
Robert Nash and Brandon Koch filed a lawsuit backed by gun advocates arguing that “the state makes it virtually impossible for the ordinary law-abiding citizen to obtain a license.”
“Nash and Koch did not receive unrestricted licenses because neither demonstrated a nonspeculative need to carry a handgun virtually anywhere in public,” Barbara Underwood, New York’s solicitor general, told the court in a brief.
“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion.
Justice Samuel Alito filed a concurring opinion.
“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,” Alito wrote.
The court’s ruling “severely burdens States’ efforts” to curb gun violence, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a dissenting opinion.
“Many States have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds,” he wrote. “The Court today severely burdens States’ efforts to do so.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul ripped the decision.
“It is outrageous that at a moment of national reckoning on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who can carry concealed weapons,” she said.