Courthouse Steps Decision: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen
On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court decided New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. In a 6-3 decision, the Court struck down New York’s handgun licensing law that required New Yorkers to demonstrate a “proper cause” in order to be granted a license to carry a pistol or revolver in public. The petitioners, Brandon Koch and Robert Nash, were denied licenses to carry a firearm in public after listing their generalized interest in self-defense as the reason for seeking the license. New York denied their license application because a generalized interest in self-defense failed to satisfy the state’s proper cause requirement. Both men sued, claiming that New York had violated their Second Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights in doing so. A district court dismissed their claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed.
Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court, in the first major case on firearms regulation that the Court has considered in over a decade.
Prof. Mark W. Smith, Visiting Fellow in Pharmaceutical Public Policy and Law in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford; Presidential Scholar and Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy, The King’s College; Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow of Law and Public Policy, Ave Maria School of Law
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