The Supreme Court agreed to hear a major gun-rights claim on Monday. The decision they make could change whether or not the 2nd Amendment gives citizens the right to carry loaded firearms when they leave home, regardless of local laws.
The laws currently at issue rest mostly in places like California and New York, where concealed carry permits require that gun owns prove they have a "special need" or "good cause" to be armed. These permits are rarely granted.
"The time has come for this court to… reaffirm the citizens' fundamental right to carry a handgun for self-defense," Washington attorney Paul D. Clement said in his appeal on behalf of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn.via LA Times
The case could prove to be one of the most significant tests of the 2nd Amendment in the past decade. Gun bans have cropped up in past, like one in Washington, DC that was knocked down in 2008 after the court ruled that owning a gun for self-defense was a constitutional right. A similar ban was thrown out of Chicago in 2010. Appeals to reconsider gun laws have been turned away for the most part since—even measures that put limits on who could obtain license to carry guns in public. The three newest justices, appointed by Trump, have made it clear that they favor stronger gun-rights protections.
In California, gun owners can apply for a concealed-carry permit with local law enforcement, but they'll only get the permit if a sheriff or police chief deems the applicant as having "good moral character" and has "good cause" to carry a loaded gun. The LAPD says, "good cause exists if there is convincing evidence of a clear and present danger to life or of bodily harm" to the applicants or their families.
"Because of the restrictive practices in some California cities and counties, the most recent data show that there are only 120,582 concealed carry license holders in all of California. That is a mere 0.39% of the adult population of California," the court was told by several law enforcement groups, including the California Sheriffs Assn.via LA Times
Only about 1.2% of adults in New York hold concealed-carry permits, while states like Pennsylvania and Alabama—which practice "shall issue" policies—are at 14% and 28% respectively (with Alabama having the highest percentage in the nation).
The New York case began when Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, who live near Albany, applied for a concealed carry permit. Nash cited "a string of recent robberies in his neighborhood." But both were turned down because they "did not demonstrate a special need for self-defense that distinguished [them] from the general public."via LA Times
Nash and Koch, along with the state rifle association, sued, claiming their 2nd Amendment rights had been violated. They lost the case before a federal judge and the 2nd Circuit Court which said that the state could restrict who carries a concealed weapon in public.
The court will hear arguments for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. vs. Corlett case in the fall.