Supreme Court may soon undermine virtually all gun safety laws in America

Progressive Democrat Lisa McCormick applauded the 152 members of Congress and 19 state attorneys general who filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court asserting that they believe gun safety laws, including New York’s concealed carry licensing law, are a constitutional exercise of legislative authority and a critical tool for protecting public safety and the exercise of other constitutional rights.

At issue in the case—New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, No. 20-843 (U.S.)—is a New York law that requires applicants for a concealed carry permit to show an actual and articulable — as opposed to merely speculative or specious—need for self-defense.

“Nothing in our Constitution’s text or our country’s history and traditions requires States to authorize the public carry of loaded firearms on demand,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who led the coalition of state attorneys general defending New York’s law. “While we’ve taken different approaches to regulation, nearly every state in this country has laws regulating public carry.”

Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York submitted another brief in support of New York’s “proper cause” concealed carry law, the state law that passed over 100 years ago in 1911 and established the standard for acquiring a concealed carry permit.

Thompson and Schumer were joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in their brief to the court that cited the need for this law to help prevent gun violence. You can click here to read the full brief.

“Stripping states and local jurisdictions of this ability to protect our residents is inconsistent with policies that have adopted for hundreds of years and it would put people in unnecessary danger,” said McCormick.

“Every day, gun violence continues to devastate countless communities across our nation and demand urgent action to save lives,” said Pelosi. “While many cities and states have stepped up to enact critical gun safety measures proven to keep our communities safe, these laws now face a dangerous challenge in the Supreme Court that could erase much of our hard-won progress.”

“House Democrats are proud to stand with the American people in supporting the ability of legislatures to enact these life-saving laws – and we remain unwavering in our commitment to the fight against the horrors of gun violence,” said Pelosi.

“The Supreme Court is at a crossroads that could determine the future for gun violence prevention across our nation. This New York law is a critical part of keeping communities safe in that state and the same can be said for other states like California that have similar conceal-carry laws in place. If this law is overturned, it will set a dangerous precedent that will hurt our communities and we will be less safe from gun violence,” said Thompson. “That’s why I was proud to lead this Amicus Brief to the court in support of this law and why I’ll continue working to ensure we tackle the scourge of gun violence in communities across our nation.”

“For more than a century, New York State’s ‘proper cause’ concealed carry law has protected public safety in a manner consistent with the Second Amendment,” said McCormick. “There is no reason the Supreme Court should now overturn a bedrock legal precedent in a decision that would only make our citizens less safe.”

New York’s “proper cause” concealed carry law requires individuals who wish to carry a firearm with ammunition in public to first establish that they have “proper cause” to obtain such a permit.

Thompson’s brief argues that overturning this law would set a dangerous precedent that would jeopardize common sense and longstanding gun violence laws across the country.

McCormick—who has asserted that the Second Amendment is archaic and unnecessary in today’s world—warned that the judiciary has been ‘stacked’ with religious fundamentalists and conservative extremists who subscribe to a peculiar philosophy that dictates that laws must be strictly interpreted based on the original understanding at the time the Constitution was adopted, as if courts cannot recognize changes that have occurred over time, such as technology or social norms.

The Bruen case centers on the denial of concealed carry permits to two men who applied for them in New York, citing a generalized desire to protect themselves by carrying a concealed firearm. Upon being denied, the men, joined by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, filed a lawsuit alleging the denial represented a violation of their Second Amendment rights.

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed their complaint, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit subsequently upheld the dismissal. The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear the case.

New Jersey’s own concealed-carry statute prevents private persons from obtaining a license to carry a firearm outside the home unless they meet criteria for an exception under the law or can show a specific, individualized need. Specifically, New Jersey’s law requires written certification of “justifiable need” to obtain a concealed-carry permit, and makes public carry of a handgun without a state permit a second-degree crime.

In support of the states’ legitimate interest in regulating public carry of firearms, the multi-state amicus brief filed today observes that, “States with the most permissive public carry laws, which generally allow most residents to carry in most places, experience higher rates of violent crime than those who do not.”

The brief points to several studies that have linked less restrictive “right to carry” laws with increases in violent crime. One of those studies reported a 13-to-15-percent increase in violent crime, while another reported nearly an 11-percent increase in the rate of homicides committed with guns.

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