6-3 ruling Striking Down New York’s “proper cause” requirement for concealed carry:

What does the decision mean?

Prior to this decision, New York required “proper cause,” to grant a concealed carry handgun license, which required a showing of more than a general desire for self-protection to obtain a permit for carry outside the home other than for sports like hunting. With this ruling, New Yorkers no longer need to show a special need for self-defense. In the opinion, the United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stated, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms “naturally encompasses public carry, arguing confining keeping firearms for self-defense to the home “would make little sense.”

Do you still need a pistol permit in New York?

Yes. This ruling does not change any of the rules about who may lawfully possess a firearm, or anything about the type of firearms you can possess. This ruling does not stop states from imposing their own restrictions on who can own/possess a firearm.

Was New York the only state who had this type of law?

No. New York was one of six States, and the District of Columbia that required more than a desire requirement to allow someone to carry a handgun in public.  Most states have “must issue” rules, where when someone applies and meets a certain threshold, they are granted a concealed-carry license without discretion to deny. The other states who had “may issue” licensing laws were Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, California, and the District of Columbia.

How did this case get to the United States Supreme Court?

In 2013, Brandon Kosh and Robert Nash, citizens of Rensselaer County, and members of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association filed their lawsuit. Both men applied for unrestricted licenses to carry handguns in public, not claiming any unique danger to their personal safety, but wanting to carry for self-defense. Both men were granted restricted permits for carrying outside of the home for hunting and target shooting. Both men applied for the restriction to be removed, and Kosh was allowed to carry his handgun to and from work. The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association sued, stating their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights were being violated by denying their unrestricted carry applications on the basis that they had failed to show proper cause. The District Court dismissed their complaint, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, stating that New York’s proper cause standard was “substantially related to the achievement of an important government interest.”

What does this mean for people who are licensed to carry but were denied carry conceal permits and were only granted “hunting and target” permits?

The Supreme Court has now held that he Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home. Therefore, New York State can no longer limit public carry only to those law-abiding citizens who demonstrate a special need for self-defense.

If I have a permit that limits me to “hunting and target” only, should I apply to have that restriction removed?

Yes. With this ruling, New York State can no longer prevent your unrestricted license to carry a handgun in public unless you demonstrate a special need for self-defense. In other words, New York can no longer prevent law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

If I have a permit that limits me to “hunting and target” only, can I be charged with a crime if I carry in public?

The court did not give instructions about the process of converting a “hunting & target” permit to a full carry permit. However, given that United States Supreme Court has now overturned the New York law, a charge of criminal possession of a weapon for failing to have a fully carry license, if you presently hold a “hunting and target” permit, should not be successful, and should be dismissed.