Victory! U.S. Supreme Court Rules Citizens Have Right to Carry Guns
On Thursday, June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that "the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home."
This landmark ruling strikes down onerous New York regulations requiring citizens to show "proper cause" in order to get a license to carry a concealed handgun in public. In some places, such as New York City, this requirement has been, in practice, virtually impossible for anyone to satisfy, outside of those who are rich, famous, and powerful.
Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court, which begins like this:
In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742 (2010), we recognized that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect the right of an ordinary, law-abiding citizen to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense. In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.
The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen. Buckeye Firearms Association submitted an amicus brief in this case, just as we submitted briefs in the former landmark cases of D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago.
It has been 14 years since the court ruled in Heller that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to have a gun in the home for self-defense. The case of McDonald followed two years later, finding that this individual right is enforceable in the states. The ruling in Bruen means that the Second Amendment also protects the right to carry a gun outside the home.
In plain English, the Heller and McDonald cases confirmed that individuals have a right to "keep" arms. The Bruen case confirms that individuals have a right to "bear" arms.
"This is a landmark ruling for multiple reasons," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association. "Not only does it affirm the right to both keep and bear arms, it also sends a message to lawmakers around the country that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right, subject to special rules and blatant infringements.
"No other constitutionally-enumerated right has been so willfully violated and widely vilified as the Second Amendment. And this ruling goes a long way toward rolling back modern misunderstandings and misguided laws that seek to prevent citizens from exercising a right that stands beside other rights in the U.S. Bill of Rights."
On November 3, 2021, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Bruen. You can listen to the audio and download a transcript here.
We've talked about U.S. Supreme Court cases on our Keep and Bear Radio podcast. Click to listen.
- Will NYSRPA v. Bruen Lead to the Next Landmark Gun Rights Decision?
- Justice Scalia Drops the Hammer: The 2nd Amendment Means What it Says
- An Interview with Dick Heller, the Man Who Saved the Second Amendment
Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, #1 NRA Recruiter for 2013, business owner and partner with Second Call Defense.