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U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Gun Restrictions in Major Decision

bruen decision
The Bruen decision expanded gun rights.

The Bruen decision struck down a New York law that limited who could carry concealed weapons outside the home.

The U.S. Supreme Court has expanded gun rights in a major decision that struck down a New York law that restricted concealed carry outside the home by limiting it to those who could show unique self-defense circumstances.

The Court found that such a subjective test violated the U.S. Constitution.

“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is
not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,'” the Supreme Court wrote in its June 23, 2022, decision.

The Bruen decision was authored by Justice Clarence Thomas. He was joined by Justices Sam Alito, John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

You can read the court’s decision here. The court held, “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”


What does the Bruen decision say?

The Bruen decision focused on a requirement in the state of New York that made concealed carry license applicants show “proper cause” to do so. As a result, according to the NRA, New York “routinely used this requirement to deny law-abiding citizens the ability to properly protect themselves. New York is one of six states and the District of Columbia that operate under such a ‘may issue’ regime, and the NRA has long fought to abolish this practice in favor of ‘shall issue’ or ‘constitutional carry’ in which law-abiding citizens can exercise their right to carry as long as they meet certain objective criteria.”

Wisconsin is not among those six states.

According to the court’s decision, “An applicant satisfies the ‘proper cause’ requirement only if he can ‘demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.’”

The court wrote:

“The Court cannot conclude from this historical record that, by the time of the founding, English law would have justified restricting the right to publicly bear arms suited for self-defense only to those who demonstrate some special need for self-protection.”

Reaction was swift.

President Joe Biden condemned the decision. He wrote, “I am deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Since 1911, the State of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self-defense and to acquire a license.”

However, the NRA disagreed.

“Today’s ruling is a watershed win for good men and women all across America and is the result of a decades-long fight the NRA has led,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. “The right to self-defense and to defend your family and loved ones should not end at your home. This ruling brings life-saving justice to law-abiding Americans who have lived under unconstitutional regimes all across our country, particularly in cities and states with revolving door criminal justice systems, no cash bail and increased harassment of law-enforcement.”

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