Supreme Court Addresses Major Gun Rights Case

Supreme Court Addresses Major Gun Rights Case

( – Gun rights activists are fired up at the opportunity to have their day in court now that conservative judges outnumber liberals on the Supreme Court by a margin of six to three. Second Amendment supporters believe they could receive a favorable ruling in a very important case.

On Wednesday, November 3, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a New York case dealing with open carry. The plaintiffs asked the court to consider the constitutionality of a turn-of-the-century state law restricting the right to publicly carry a firearm for self-protection. The justices spent more than two hours listening to both sides lay out their case in the first significant gun rights case the Court has agreed to hear in more than a decade.

The plaintiffs in the case, Brandon Koch and Robert Nash, applied for open carry permits; but, state licensing officials denied their applications, claiming they didn’t make a sufficient showing of a need to carry firearms outside their homes. However, the officials did issue the two men “restricted” permits, allowing them to publicly carry handguns for hunting, target shooting, and other related outdoor activities.

The Justice Weigh In

According to a report from CBS News, New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood argued the 1913 law provided ample protection to gun owners under the Second Amendment. The law requires residents to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain an open carry license. State courts have long considered that to mean applicants must show a “special need” to carry a firearm to defend themselves in public.

Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t appear to buy that argument. He asked why the state felt gun owners needed to show a particular need to avail themselves of an otherwise constitutionally protected right. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh expressed similar concerns. He wanted to know why local licensing officials had the power to deny the right to bear arms in public to permit applicants.

“That’s the real concern… with any constitutional right?” Kavanaugh asked, adding that the New York law seemed “inconsistent with” Second Amendment protections.

Court watchers reported a clear majority of the court appeared to side with the plaintiffs. However, the justices also seemed open to the idea of restricting open carry under a narrow set of circumstances. For instance, Trump appointee Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked whether limiting the right in Times Square on New Year’s Eve was reasonable.

The justices will now discuss the case behind closed doors. America won’t learn what they decided until 2022 when they announce their opinions for the current session.

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