More than two dozen states are asking the Supreme Court to toss New York‘s handgun licensing law, saying the measure runs afoul of the Second Amendment and could hinder their residents’ constitutional rights.
Twenty-six states told the Supreme Court in a brief filed last week that the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals got it wrong when it upheld New York‘s requirement that anyone applying for a handgun license must show “proper cause” for the need to carry a firearm.
The requirement to show “proper cause” has been challenged by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, as well as two men who were trained to handle guns but had their applications denied. They say the requirement infringes on their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
“States have a special responsibility to safeguard their citizens’ fundamental rights, including their right to bear arms in self-defense outside the home. The 2nd Circuit’s misinterpretation of the Second Amendment threatens the liberty of citizens in every state, not just New York,” the states’ brief reads.
The states siding with the gun-rights group and the two men include Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Indiana, Idaho, Kentucky, Kansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming and West Virginia.
The case arose after Robert Nash requested a handgun license for self-defense after a string of robberies occurred in his neighborhood. He was denied the license despite having attended gun safety training. Brendan Koch, who also had experience in handling firearms, also was rejected after applying for a license to carry.
The lower court ruled for the state, prompting the men to take their challenge to the high court.
New York officials argue the state’s process has existed since 1913 and is in line with history for regulating firearms carried in public.
“The law is consistent with the historical scope of the Second Amendment and directly advances New York‘s compelling interests in public safety and crime prevention,” the state said in court papers.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that there’s a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms inside the home. However, the court said that right can be regulated.
The New York case, which will be heard during the court‘s next term beginning in October, raises the question about whether the Second Amendment also protects the right to carry a firearm outside the home.
A date for oral arguments has not been scheduled. A decision is expected by the end of June.
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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