SCOTUS: Second Amendment Allows People to Carry Handguns in Public for Self-Defense

The Supreme Court has held that people have right to carry guns in public, and that states can't limit concealed carry licenses to people who have a special need for self-defense.

By , Attorney

On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court struck down a New York law that restricted carrying handguns in public. (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, 597 U.S. __ (2022).)

The New York law required that anyone seeking a license to carry a concealed handgun show "proper cause" for the license, which required more than just a general need for self-protection. Instead, applicants had to demonstrate a "special need" for self-defense, such as continuous threats to their lives or safety.

In its decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Supreme Court held that this kind of law violates the Second Amendment because the right to bear arms includes the right of ordinary law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in public for self-defense. Bruen changed how courts must evaluate gun control legislation in light of the Second Amendment. Judges must strike down gun laws that are inconsistent with the nation's historical (18th century) tradition of reasonable firearm regulation. Courts had previously allowed gun regulations to stand if they "promote[d] an important interest."

The ruling has significant implications for the Second Amendment and gun laws throughout the country.

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, 597 U.S.__ (2022).

Decided: June 23, 2022