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The Court Takes A Case

The Court Takes A Case

The Supreme Court in today’s order list granted certiorari to a Second Amendment case. This is the first time that certiorari has been granted for a Second Amendment case in ten years.

The case 20-843 NEW YORK STATE RIFLE, ET AL. V. CORLETT, KEITH M., ET AL. concerns the requirement in New York State the a person show a need to carry a firearm for self defense. The state is the sole judge of whether or not a permit to carry a concealed weapon will be granted.

On paper at least a person denied a permit can appeal to a court to over rule that decision, but it virtually never happens.

There are about seven other states that have similar restrictions. They are known as “may issue” states and the requirements vary widely. New York and New Jersey are more like “never issue unless you’re politically connected” states. Massachusetts may or may not issue a permit depending on what the local police chief feels like doing.

The other “may issue” states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, and Rhode Island. Rhode Island is actually a “shall issue” state if the permit is issued by the local town, and may issue if the permit application is filed with the Attorney General. In real effect, it’s a probably won’t issue state as some local departments refuse to even process an application. That has lead to a lot of litigation, but I’m not going to go into that now.

The grant of certiorari states the following,

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the State’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for
self-defense violated the Second Amendment.

It’s not unusual for the Court to take a very narrow approach to cases brought before it. In this case, a favorable decision will likely require the seven may issue states to issue some sort of permit. The problem may be what restrictions the place on the permits. Which will likely lead to yet more litigation as none of those states are likely to change their laws voluntarily.

The fact that the Court granted certiorari is significant in and of itself. They have refused to take up several Second Amendment cases over the past several years, including a previous one from New York City. The city successfully convinced the Court that the case was moot as the city had changed the laws that had been challenged.

There was also a case out of Illinois that might have resulted in a similar decision as is being requested here. That was back in 2012 as I recall. Illinois was a “no issue” state at the time and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state must enact a law to allow for concealed carry or the court would decree that no permit was required for concealed carry.

Illinois was going to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, but it appears that several other states pressured the Attorney General of the state not to do so. The fear was that “shall issue” would become the rule of law and states would lose the discretionary power.

Since certiorari was granted just today, I’d expect that the case won’t be heard until the fall session of the Supreme Court and a decision won’t be issued until about this time next year.

Hold on to you hats folks, the ride is likely to get bumpy.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.