The judges now sitting on the highest bench in the US have upended 230 years of jurisprudence, and opened a Pandora’s box on gun laws.
On the same day the United States Senate prepares to pass the first bipartisan gun law reforms in nearly three decades, the Supreme Court thumbed its nose at the legislative branch and the American people.
In a 6-3 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc v Bruen announced on Thursday morning, the court’s conservatives struck down the Sullivan Act, a 1911 state law that required New Yorkers to hold permits issued by local police to carry concealed weapons. The law applied not only to handguns, but to any weapon small enough to be secreted on a person, including knives, clubs, brass knuckles and bombs.
The Sullivan Act required applicants to meet statutory criteria, including safety training and a background check, and “demonstrate a special need for self-protection”. Police had discretion in deciding whether applicants satisfied the standards. The law has survived multiple legal challenges, and guided gun safety legislation in many states.