The case of the New York Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen will be heard before the US Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The case discusses New York’s restrictive gun-carrying law, according to which the right to carry a firearm in public places for self-defense would be granted only to those who prove the existence of a “proper cause.”

As always when discussing the possible restriction of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, this case has aroused great public interest.

Anti-gun radicals, read Democrats, say if the restrictions imposed by New York are abolished, gun violence will increase on the streets, while proponents of the right to carry arms point out how the increased risk of violence on the streets is the reason why everyone must be given the right to carry arms for the purpose of self-defense.

Anti-gun radicals prejudge the court’s decision and are frightened because of its conservative majority (6-3), meanwhile, the composition of the court provides hope to the proponents of the right to carry arms in a positive outcome of the case.

Historic decision

The last two Supreme Court decisions concerning the right to bear arms were made more than a decade ago, in 2008 and 2010 when the court ruled on the right to keep firearms at home for self-defense, however, this is the first time the court will rule on the Second Amendment right in the context of the public carrying.

This issue does not represent a major turnaround for those states that do not have or have very mild restrictions regarding the carrying of weapons in public, however for those states who restrict such a right by imposing conditions (e.g. California), this judgment may represent a major turnaround and decide whether such state laws remain in force or not.

The law, because of which this case was initiated, has been in force in New York since 1913 and requires applicants to the public arms carrying to prove the proper cause for carrying a concealed handgun for self-defense purposes.

The NYRPA explains setting this condition prevents law-abiding citizens from obtaining a permit to carry a self-defense weapon.

NYRPA attorneys base their argument on a detailed analysis of history, stating it clearly shows the right to bear arms in public as part of the Second Amendment, which is deeply rooted in the American people’s tradition, while New York stresses the need for restrictions to protect public safety, referring to analyzes showing less gun violence and homicides in states where such restrictions exist.

NYRPA President Tom King emphasized one of the problems of New York law being the possibility of obtaining an unlimited permit will largely depend on whether the applicant lives in a rural or urban part of the state.

Since the last time the scope of the right to carry arms was debated in the US Supreme Court, three new conservative judges have been appointed by then-President Trump - Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Barrett.

Their previous decisions regarding the right to carry arms give a hint in which direction their ruling in this might go.

Kavanaugh, as an appellate judge in 2011, said the requirements for gun registration and the ban on semi-automatic rifles in the Columbia District are unconstitutional.

Barrett as an appellate judge, once wrote the existence of a conviction for a nonviolent crime must not automatically disqualify a person from possessing a weapon, and Judge Gorsuch voted on making a decision in a case dismissed by his colleagues before the Supreme Court in 2020 concerning the right to carry a weapon.

On the other hand, it is to be expected three liberal judges will support New York’s restrictions.

The Biden administration makes no secret about backing up New York by urging judges to support the restrictions.

It remains to be seen what decision the judges will make and how will it affect existing laws restricting the right to carry arms some states already have.