Supreme Court rejects request to block New York gun law

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The Supreme Court has denied an emergency petition from a group of New York firearm dealers who asked the Court to block certain parts of recently passed state gun laws which they claim violate their Second Amendment rights and hamper their profitability.

The brief unsigned order does not touch on the merits of the case and instead says the Court will allow the challenge to play out in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rather than intervening on behalf of the gun dealers. The decision comes after the Court refused to hear an emergency challenge to another provision of a recently passed New York gun law.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that the existing state law requiring residents to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a concealed-carry permit was unconstitutional. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas argued at the time that the Second Amendment protected “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

As a result, New York’s Democratic-controlled state legislature adopted a slew of new laws circumscribing the use of concealed handguns beyond the home following the ruling. The law created a number of so-called special zones around public transit and popular venues where the concealed carrying of a handgun is not permitted.

New York Democrats also passed a series of other firearm regulations, such as mandating background checks for ammo sales and security alarms for retailers, which officials claim are needed to ensure public safety. Those provisions are at issue in the case currently before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

For her part, Democratic governor Kathy Hochul convened a special legislative session to pass the “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” in July 2022.

Such legislative initiatives prompted Second Amendment defenders in the state to challenge their legality. Last week, the Supreme Court similarly rejected a suit on behalf of six New Yorkers seeking the court to intercede and unwind new state laws deemed unconstitutional.

Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas defended the move by citing their faith in lower courts to address the matter first. Nevertheless, both Alito and Thomas noted that New York’s latest laws “presents novel and serious questions” in their official statement.

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