In our federalist system, states can regulate public carry

In our federalist system, states can regulate public carry

This article is part of a symposium on the upcoming argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen . A preview of the case is here . Jeremy Feigenbaum is the state solicitor of New Jersey. Building on a centuries-long tradition of regulating the public carrying of firearms, New York State places careful limits on whether and when individuals may carry weapons in public. New York is hardly alone in doing so; today approximately one quarter of Americans live in states that maintain these laws. Although the challengers in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen seek the invalidation of all such statutory provisions — and demand the entire United States live under a single, unlimited public-carry regime, from the most rural area to the densest urban centers — the Constitution requires no such result. Instead, the constitutional rule is clear: States remain free to make these policy choices for themselves, in response to the unique and divergent public-safety and law enforcement needs they have. In the modern era, states are no stranger to suits challenging their policies. But the Supreme Court has held firm to three important jurisprudential touchstones that, in the run of cases, protect the states’ ability to legislate in accordance with the needs of their diverse populations and remain accountable to them: history, public safety, and federalism. These three considerations are neither inherently conservative nor liberal, and instead provide critical tools for reviewing democratically enacted laws in a federalist system. […]

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