(USA Features) The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving concealed carry laws in its first major look at the Second Amendment since a landmark 2008 ruling.
Justices will hear an appeal by two New York gun owners and the state’s NRA affiliate of lower court rulings that tossed their challenge to restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun outside their home.
Lower courts have rejected arguments by the plaintiffs that disallowing concealed carry is a violation of the Second Amendment’s ‘infringement’ clause.
The case could become one of the most important, far-reaching rulings on the right to keep and bear arms in more than a decade.
The case stems from a New York firearms licensing agency that issued the two men “concealed carry” permits but only for hunting and target practice, not for self-defense purposes. When the men applied, state officials said they denied their application because they had not shown a necessity.
The high court has been cited as having a 6-3 conservative majority seen as pro-Second Amendment, but in several recent rulings, Chief Justice John Roberts has sided with the court’s liberals. Also, the high court refused to take up a number of challenges to changes in voting rules and laws prior to the 2020 election.
In 2008, the court for the first time recognized an individual right to keep arms at home for self-defense, ruling again two years later to apply that right to the states. Now, the plaintiffs in the New York case are asking the court to recognize the same right beyond the home.
A favorable ruling for the plaintiffs will likely result in similar laws around the country banning or restricting concealed carry to come under fire. Currently, seven states and Washington, D.C., have enacted restrictions that give officials discretion in decisions involving whether or not to issue concealed carry permits.
Several other states have passed laws eliminating even the requirement to apply for a license. Those “constitutional carry” laws allow legal firearms owners to pack a gun with few other restrictions.