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  • The Supreme Court’s ruling could undermine laws in several other states with similar restrictions on the books.

  • California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware all require residents applying for concealed carry permits to demonstrate a justifiable need to carry a concealed weapon.

  • The ruling comes as there is a national push by lawmakers to tighten gun laws following a series of deadly mass shootings. 

The Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a century-old New York state law restricting who can obtain a permit to carry a handgun outside the home, a landmark ruling that could make it easier for people to carry pistols in public in a handful of blue states.  

The law, now struck down, at the heart of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required concealed carry permit applicants to demonstrate a special need for the permit beyond self-defense.  

The high court in a 6-3 decision that fell along ideological lines ruled the “proper-cause requirement” prevented “law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.” The ruling, authored by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, said the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”  


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“We know of no other constitution right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” Thomas wrote.  

The Supreme Court’s ruling could undermine laws in several other states with similar restrictions on the books. California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware all require residents applying for concealed carry permits to demonstrate a justifiable need to carry a concealed weapon.  

In California, applicants need to demonstrate there is a clear and present danger to themselves or their family that cannot be “alleviated through other legal channels.” Applicants in Maryland must show the permit is necessary as a “reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.”  

Courts in New Jersey can only issue a permit if the applicant has a justifiable need to carry a handgun. Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Delaware only issue licenses if applicants can show “good reason” to fear injury to themselves or their property.  

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said it was a “dark day in America” following the Supreme Court’s decision.  

“This is a dangerous decision from a court hell bent on pushing a radical ideological agenda and infringing on the rights of states to protect our citizens from being gunned down in our streets, schools, and churches. Shameful,” Newsom wrote.  

The ruling comes as there is a national push by lawmakers to tighten gun laws following a series of deadly mass shootings. 

Published on Jun. 23, 2022