New York’s Gun Law and the Supreme Court—What Is There to Fear?

New York’s Gun Law and the Supreme Court—What Is There to Fear?

Guns on display. New York’s strict gun licensing law, which limits concealed-carry permits to only people who can show a particular need for protection, is being challenged. Candace McCoy, a professor of criminal justice at John Jay College, says the U.S. Supreme Court should not rely on originalist arguments, because current social conditions are very different than the 1700s, particularly how Americans today carry handguns in public out of fear and erroneously believe it will make them safe. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Nov. 3 in a case challenging New York’s gun licensing law as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.” Applicants for a concealed-carry license in New York must show they have a special need for it. The statute doesn’t define this, but courts in the state have ruled that it requires applicants to show a particular reason for heightened protection, more than the general public has. The law has been on the books for nearly a century, during which time licensees have included such categories of people as divorcees worried about violent exes, retired police officers and detectives worried that the bad guys they helped indict will track them down, or people whose jobs require them to be in dangerous neighborhoods at odd hours. The licensees do not include people who simply feel it is a good thing to carry a handgun on their persons or in their vehicles, though in many other states these people would much more easily […]

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