New York’s Updated Gun Legislation Can Take Effect, Court Rules—Replacing Policy Supreme Court Struck Down


New York’s updated concealed carry policy will take effect Thursday as scheduled after a federal judge threw out a lawsuit challenging it on Wednesday, suggesting states could still have a legally viable way to restrict concealed carry even after the Supreme Court struck down New York’s previous law—though the judge suggested he still had reservations with the law.

Key Facts

U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby declined to issue a preliminary injunction blocking New York’s law and dismissed the challenge entirely, which was brought by a local gun owner and gun rights advocacy groups who argued the law “thumb[s] its nose at the text of the Second Amendment” and the Supreme Court’s precedent.

Suddaby, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, dismissed the case because the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to bring it, but suggested he could side with the gun rights advocates if they re-file their case to comply with the ruling, noting he “is left with a strong sense of the safety that a licensed concealed handgun regularly provides.”

After the Supreme Court struck down New York’s previous concealed carry law in June, the state enacted a new law governing its concealed carry policy, which adds additional requirements for people to get a concealed carry permit, like completing firearms training, and restricts the public places where guns can be carried, among other measures.

The plaintiffs argued the law should be blocked because it is a “legislative repudiation” of the Supreme Court’s ruling and is overly restrictive, alleging too much of the state is classified as a “sensitive” location and that an added requirement for concealed carry applicants to provide their social media handles will “chill” their First Amendment protected speech.

Stephen D. Stamboulieh, the attorney representing the pro-gun rights plaintiffs, has not yet responded to a request for comment.

What To Watch For

How New York’s ongoing gun control debate will affect other states, as however New York’s policy fares in federal court will likely help shape other states’ regulations. The Supreme Court’s ruling, while focused on New York’s law, also affected concealed carry policies in several other states, including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Those states have had to amend their concealed carry laws in the wake of the ruling, and Massachusetts and some local jurisdictions have introduced new policies to address the Supreme Court’s rulings.

Key Background

The Supreme Court struck down New York’s concealed carry law on June 23, taking issue with the state only granting licenses to people who have “proper cause” to carry a concealed weapon and ruling the law was overly restrictive. The justices ruled 6-3 that the law violated the Fourteenth Amendment and was overly burdensome under the Second Amendment, as the court found its definition of the right to “bear arms” includes “carrying handguns publicly for self-defense.” Justices also believed that New York’s categorization of “sensitive locations” where guns aren’t allowed was overly broad, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing there’s “no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a ‘sensitive place’ simply because it is crowded.” That led New York to swiftly enact its new restrictions in the days after the ruling, with Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signing the bill into law on July 1. The law addresses the court’s concerns with a more specific listing of where concealed weapons are banned, like public transportation, bars, schools, churches and Times Square, and more specific requirements for obtaining a concealed carry license more than the more vague “proper cause” rule.

Further Reading

Supreme Court Strikes Down N.Y. Concealed Carry Law—Could Lead To Rollbacks Nationwide (Forbes)

Tracking the Effects of the Supreme Court’s Gun Ruling (The Trace)