The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday announced their intent to hear the first Second Amendment case in more than a decade. The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett, will force the Court to address whether or not Americans can be forced to prove the need to carry a firearm for self-defense.
Under New York law, a person must apply for a permit to carry but he or she must prove “proper cause” exists. New York is a “may issue” state, meaning it’s up to local law enforcement agencies — generally sheriffs — to determine whether or not a person’s “need” to carry a firearm is valid.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court agrees to take up a major gun rights case. In NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett, the justices will consider the extent to which the Second Amendment protects the right to carry guns outside the home for self-defense. pic.twitter.com/0uGurWn46r
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) April 26, 2021
Two of the petitioners, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, applied for carry permits but were denied for various reasons.
“Nash, for instance, requested to carry a handgun for self-defense after a string of robberies in his neighborhood. But he was denied because he did not demonstrate a special need for self-defense. Koch wanted a similar license, and he was able to cite his experience of participating in safety training courses,” CNN reported. “He too was denied.”
The petitioners argued the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to carry a firearm outside of the home.
“A small minority persists in denying the right to typical law-abiding citizens, instead of reserving self-defense rights to the small subset of individuals whom the state deems worthy,” they argue. “New York is illustrative: It curtails fundamental, individuals self-defense rights. The governmental insistence upon a unique showing of need ignores that the Second Amendment broadly guarantees rights to all ‘the people.’”
The last landmark Second Amendment case the High Court heard was in 2010 with the McDonald v. City of Chicago case, which found that an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense applies at the federal, state, and local levels. Before that, in 2008, the Court heard District of Columbia v. Heller, which declared the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms unconnected from service in a militia.
Gun rights groups applauded the Court’s decision to hear the case.
“The entire gun rights community has waited for many years for this news,” Second Amendment Foundation Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said in a statement. “A right that exists only in one’s home is not a right at all. We do not limit the right of free speech, or freedom of the press, or the practice of one’s religion, or the right to legal counsel just to someone’s residence. And ultimately, that’s what we’re talking about, constitutionally-protected fundamental rights.”
“The court rarely takes Second Amendment cases. Now it’s decided to hear one of the most critical Second Amendment issues,” National Rifle Association Insititute for Legislative Action Executive Director Jason Ouimet said in a statement. “We’re confident that the court will tell New York and the other states that our Second Amendment right to defend ourselves is fundamental, and doesn’t vanish when we leave our homes.”
“The Supreme Court has ‘kicked the can’ on the Second Amendment for far too long,” Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said in a statement. “The time has come for the Court to stand for the Constitution and Bill of Rights and strike down onerous ‘may issue’ carry restrictions. To ensure that the “text and history” — as outlined in the Heller case — is heard before the Court, GOA and GOF will be filing an amicus brief in this case.
The decision in this case is likely to impact other potential landmark Second Amendment cases that are making their way through the system.