“States will have to switch to what is called a ‘must issue’ rather than ‘may issue’ system, which means you can apply, you don’t have to have specific personal needs like I’ve been threatened or am a security guard ,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. His book, “The Second Amendment: A Biography,” was cited in Judge Stephen Breyer’s dissent.
Under New York law, in effect since 1913, residents were required to present adequate cause to carry a concealed weapon in public for self-defense. Likewise, in those other states “may issue” – although each state law employs a different approach – local authorities can decide whether or not the individual should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. The judges said Thursday that New York law conflicts with the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
As for New York, where Hochul and other state leaders have already pledged to act in response to the Court’s ruling, Waldman said lawmakers could try to respond by limiting where people can carry these weapons, such as subways, schools or Times Square. . Lawmakers may also look at other permit requirements, such as background checks.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh noted in Thursday’s concurring opinion that 43 states, which have “must issue” licensing regimes, are not prohibited from imposing licensing requirements. Thursday’s decision, he said, only affects discretionary licensing regimes, also known as “can-issue” regimes.
Kavanaugh said states with the most stringent licensing requirements can continue to restrict these licenses if the criteria align with those states “must issue.” About a third of states have a “must be issued” form of law, giving state officials some discretion when it comes to accepting or rejecting gun applications. But in half the states, Americans can carry a concealed weapon without permission.
It is important to note that these state laws exist on a spectrum and do not always fall into one category or another when it comes to “may issue” or “must issue” regimes, Esther Sanchez-Gomez, senior litigation attorney at Giffords Law Center, said Thursday during a press call, complicating the meaning of the court’s opinion.
The National Rifle Association has been fighting “can be issued” laws for 40 years and called Thursday’s decision a “monumental victory”, noting that “many unconstitutional gun control laws remain” in the US.
“Today’s ruling established that the right to carry does not disappear at a person’s front door, but many unconstitutional gun control laws remain in the United States. The NRA will continue to fight these laws until all law-abiding Americans can exercise their right to defend themselves and their families with the weapon of their choice,” the group said in a statement.
The full scope of the ruling is yet to be seen, Waldman said, but Americans should expect the NRA and other gun rights groups to present a barrage of legal challenges to regulations like bans on assault weapons or background checks.
“What this really means is that the NRA and gun rights advocates will be remade and will be in court tomorrow, challenging hundreds of gun laws across the United States,” Waldman said. “Is it going to be very difficult for states and cities and Congress to know what is allowed now, what kind of regulations or firearms are constitutional? The court did not offer clarity here in terms of New York law.”