The U.S. Supreme Court was expected to begin issuing opinions on 33 pending arguments this week but will apparently wait until the next, with some court watchers wondering if their delay has anything to do with recent mass shootings and a pending decision in a gun case.
“The fact that the Court doesn’t have any opinions ready this week is all the proof I need that SCOTUS was absolutely going to release its horrible pro-gun opinion in NYS Rifle today, and then balked because of all the mass shootings they are helping,” columnist Elie Mystal tweeted Tuesday.
Under consideration, and argued in November of last year, is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a case challenging the gun licensing laws in that state and the first Second Amendment matter considered by the court in a decade.
New York law, for over 100 years, has required anyone hoping to publicly carry a concealed weapon to explain to a licensing officer why they need the firearm by showing “proper cause” to carry.
New Yorkers Robert Nash and Brandon Cook both told courts they attempted to show such cause but were issued restricted permits anyway. Both sued.
The case, while dealing with New York law, and just like the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case dealing with a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban, also due out this month, could be decided in such a way that has impact on the laws in seven other states with similar “may issue” carry laws.
“Let’s be clear: if the Supreme Court forces states to allow more guns in more public places, more people in this country will be shot, wounded, and killed,” Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law, told the Herald in an emailed statement. “Interpreting the Second Amendment isn’t an abstract exercise – it has life-or-death consequences.”
During November arguments, the court’s conservative majority seemed to indicate they would side with the plaintiffs, with Justice Samuel Alito noting the average night shift worker in New York City may be fearful of their evening commute, but still not able to demonstrate the “proper cause” for carrying according to a licensing officer’s interpretation.
“How is that consistent with the core right to self-defense, which is protected by the Second Amendment?” he asked.
It remains to be seen how the court will decide the case and whether they will issue a narrow opinion only affecting New York laws. The leaked early May opinion over Roe v. Wade demonstrates the courts willingness to upend long standing laws.
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