Conceal and Carry Restrictions Can Help Protect Freedom of Expression

Conceal and Carry Restrictions Can Help Protect Freedom of Expression

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in an important legal challenge to New York’s concealed carry law. The law requires people registering for concealed carry gun licenses to demonstrate “proper cause” in order to do so, and in particular to demonstrate a specific need for self-defense if they seek to carry a gun for that purpose. The question in the case is whether the Second Amendment permits New York to restrict the carriage of firearms in this manner. The meaning, intent and reach of the Second Amendment remain a matter of deep controversy, but the Supreme Court has made clear that Second Amendment rights are not absolute. Regulations on carrying guns in public, both open and concealed, have been common measures throughout American history as a means of maintaining peace and safety in public places. On September 21, the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-court brief in the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, arguing that New Yorks’ limits on carrying guns in public spaces are constitutional. In particular, we argued that states have an important, and historically grounded, interest in restricting the carrying of guns in order to make public spaces safe for democratic participation, including First Amendment activity such as assembly, association, and speech. What important First Amendment interests are at stake when it comes to carrying guns in public? We sat down with David Cole, ACLU national legal director and Perry Grossman, senior […]

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