The Supreme Court’s first major Second Amendment ruling in a decade is already significantly reshaping gun laws in the United States. We’re tracking its effect throughout the country, from states and cities changing their gun laws to fresh legal challenges brought by advocacy groups. We’ll continue to update this post with new developments.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen: A recap
On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment confers a constitutional right to carry a gun outside the home. Bruen voided New York’s requirement that concealed carry permit applicants demonstrate “proper cause,” or a special need for self-defense. The decision also struck down “may-issue” permitting, which gave authorities the discretion to deny permits based on subjective criteria that go beyond basic requirements like a background check.
Most significantly, Bruen rewrote the methodology lower courts defer to when evaluating the constitutionality of a gun law, prescribing that it must have a well-established analogue in American history. Specifically, the 77-year span from 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified, to 1868, when the 14th Amendment was ratified. Within this framework, judges can no longer consider the real-world effects of gun regulations, like violence reduction.
Changes to state policies and their enforcement
More than half a dozen states have reassessed their concealed carry permitting laws in the wake of Bruen. Police and prosecutors have reevaluated their policies, as well.
New York City
On August 19, 2022, the New York City Police Department issued guidelines for concealed carry applicants to resubmit their applications if they had been denied because they couldn’t demonstrate proper cause. These applicants must attest that they are familiar with state gun laws, submit a statement saying how the handgun will be secured, and describe how they have had training or plan to receive it. They have until October 18 to re-apply.
On June 24, 2022, Attorney General Rob Bonta directed permitting agencies to stop requiring a demonstration of “good cause” in order to obtain a concealed carry permit, as it was now “unconstitutional and unenforceable.” He said they could still use other gauges of suitability, like “good moral character,” and suggested criteria for determining whether an applicant qualifies, including social media searches, character references, a history of racist behavior, financial stability, and honesty and trustworthiness. Bonta also said that permitting authorities can still ask why an applicant wants to carry a gun, even if the answer is no longer allowed to factor into their decision.
The Real Significance of the Supreme Court’s Gun Decision
On July 22, 2022, a Los Angeles Police Department commander directed sworn personnel to stop enforcing the state’s high-capacity magazine ban, which the Supreme Court vacated in light of Bruen (more on that below). Until the case is decided, officers are not to “investigate, detain, or arrest” anyone suspected of possessing ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds unless they are a prohibited purchaser, the LAPD confirmed to The Trace.
On August 2, 2022, the Boulder County Commissioners unanimously passed five gun ordinances, including a prohibition on the carrying of concealed guns in “sensitive public places.” These include public buildings, government offices, courthouses, daycares, medical facilities, houses of worship, parks, polling places and ballot counting facilities, establishments that serve alcohol, and public demonstrations.
Delaware, a may-issue state, doesn’t appear to have issued guidance on how Bruen will affect the state’s concealed carry permitting laws. But a week after the ruling, Governor John Carney signed legislation that bans assault weapons; raises the age for buying semiautomatic rifles to 21; caps magazine capacity at 17 rounds; creates an avenue to sue gun makers and sellers; bans machine gun conversion devices; and revives the state’s gun background check system.
On August 26, 2022, it was reported that the Maui Police Department issued its first concealed carry permit to a private citizen in at least two decades, according to state data. Permitting authorities in Hawaii are famously strict, and before Bruen, only a few concealed carry licenses were issued.
On July 5, 2022, Governor Larry Hogan directed the Maryland State Police to stop using a “good and substantial reason” standard when evaluating concealed carry permit applicants. In response, leaders in the Democrat-led state Legislature have vowed to pass new concealed carry restrictions.
On July 12, 2022, the local council in Montgomery County, disappointed by Bruen, introduced a bill that would ban guns “in or near places of public assembly.” A couple of weeks later, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney said he would be dropping illegal gun carry charges against people who were denied a concealed carry permit because they didn’t meet the “good and substantial reason” standard.
On July 1, 2022, Attorney General Maura Healey said “licensing authorities can no longer enforce the “good reason” provision of the state’s concealed carry law. Healey issued guidance that the “suitability” requirement was unaffected by Bruen.
Shortly after the ruling, police departments around the state began to lift restrictions on concealed carry permits that were limited to hunting or target shooting only. The change could affect nearly 20,000 gun owners. By mid-July, Boston had “unrestricted” nearly 250 such licenses, while Springfield had unrestricted 53.
On August 1, 2022, the state legislature passed a measure that would amend concealed carry laws to comply with Bruen. It includes language that removes “a reasonable exercise of discretion” on the part of licensing authorities, eliminates a requirement that applicants have “good reason to fear injury,” and replaces the word “may” with “shall” in the state statute, reflecting the transition from may-issue to shall-issue. The bill also requires in-person interviews with licensing authorities and adds new categories of prohibited carriers, including people subject to temporary and permanent harassment prevention orders and people who have exhibited behavior that suggests they would be a danger to themselves or others. On August 10, Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the changes into law.
On June 24, 2022, Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin told prosecutors and law enforcement agencies that the state’s “justifiable need” requirement was no longer enforceable. Platkin emphasized that “the ruling does not change any other aspect of New Jersey’s public carry laws,” which include comprehensive background checks, character references from three people you’ve known for at least three years, and firearms training.
On August 1, 2022, the Highland Park, New Jersey, Borough Council proposed prohibitions on concealed carry in public buildings, including schools, except by police. A final vote is set for September 6.
On July 1, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which imposes a number of regulations on the public carry of firearms, including: a ban on guns in “sensitive locations” like public transit, government buildings, places of worship, polling places, medical facilities, bars, and Times Square; a provision that automatically designates all private property to be a gun-free zone unless the property owner deems otherwise; 18 hours of required firearm training; and a requirement that applicants furnish a list of social media accounts as part of a background check investigation.
On October 6, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby issued a temporary restraining order halting the enforcement of numerous provisions of the law, including a ban on guns in certain sensitive locations, the social media requirement, and a provision requiring the names of everyone in a pistol permit applicant’s household. Suddaby, whose jurisdiction includes dozens of counties in upstate New York, also voided the ban on guns on private property unless allowed by the owner, and said security personnel can carry guns in houses of worship. State officials said they will appeal.
On July 19, 2022, Attorney General Peter Neronha announced that the state’s unique dual permitting system — which provides two avenues for obtaining a carry permit, one may-issue and one shall-issue — is not affected by Bruen. Residents can still go to their local licensing authority and apply for a permit without “a proper showing of need,” or they can apply to the Attorney General’s Office, which does require a proper showing of need and uses discretion when issuing permits.
On September 14, D.C. police rescinded a 1975 rule prohibiting concealed gun licensees from carrying more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The emergency repeal came two days before Chief Robert J. Contee III was due to submit a legal brief justifying the law’s constitutionality under Bruen. A June challenge to the regulation from Dick Heller (of 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller) is effectively mooted by its repeal. Heller, who has brought a number of Second Amendment challenges since Heller, said the only surprise was “the speed at which this complaint was dispelled.” The repeal does not affect the District’s magazine capacity cap of 10 rounds.
New litigation and arguments in the courts
As my colleague Chip Brownlee has reported, courts are asking parties in ongoing Second Amendment lawsuits to adjust their arguments in the wake of Bruen. Gun-rights groups and activists have also brought new challenges to existing gun regulations. And some defense attorneys are using the ruling to try to get gun charges dismissed.
The importance of fresh litigation was made apparent just hours after the Bruen decision, when attorneys Paul Clement and Erin Murphy, who argued and won the case, formed their own firm to take on Second Amendment challenges. Among their first clients: the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, which is challenging the constitutionality of a recently enacted New York law that classifies the unlawful marketing or sale of guns as a public nuisance and allows gun companies to be sued.
Boland v. Bonta: On August 1, 2022, the California Rifle and Pistol Association filed suit to overturn the state’s 1999 Unsafe Handgun Act, which established safety standards for handguns. If a pistol is deemed unsafe, it can’t be sold by licensed dealers. The plaintiffs argue that the regulation wouldn’t pass the history-and-tradition test set forth in Bruen. At least two previous attempts to void the law have failed.
Duncan v. Bonta: On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court sent a challenge to the state’s high-capacity magazine ban back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the ban in November 2021. The case was brought by the California Rifle & Pistol Association and a group of private citizens, who argue that the law is unconstitutional because it provides no exceptions for magazines owned before the law took effect, and thus violates a Fifth Amendment clause that protects against the confiscation of legally acquired property. They also argue that because the devices are “widely owned,” the ban conflicts with SCOTUS’s ruling in 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller that weapons “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes” are protected by the Second Amendment.
In their initial complaint, the plaintiffs asked the courts to determine whether the two-step framework that lower courts used to decide gun cases — which took into account not just precedent, but also the public-safety ramifications of the law — is consistent with the Second Amendment. Since Bruen rewrote that framework, scuttling the consideration of modern-day factors, this question no longer applies.
On August 2, 2022, the Ninth Circuit asked lawyers for both sides to submit supplemental briefs on how they believe Bruen affects the case.
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Jones v. Bonta: On September 7, 2022, the Ninth Circuit reversed its decision finding California’s semiautomatic rifle ban for adults under 21 unconstitutional. A three-judge panel sent a lawsuit challenging the regulation back down to a federal judge for review in light of Bruen’s new methodology for deciding gun cases. In May, the appeals court vacated a previous ruling that upheld the regulation. The development is a win for state Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is defending the ban.
Martinez v. Villanueva: On July 6, 2022, California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has sided with gun-rights groups in recent years, vacated a decision regarding pandemic-related gun store and shooting range closures in Los Angeles County and returned the case to a district court. A Ninth Circuit panel ruled in January that the closures “burden the core of the Second Amendment right at a time of crisis, precisely when the need to exercise that right becomes most acute.” The defendants, which include a slew of state officials, had requested that the case be remanded to the district court on the grounds that a similar case in nearby Ventura County was remanded in light of Bruen. The plaintiffs include the National Rifle Association, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the California Gun Rights Foundation.
Miller v. Bonta: On August 1, 2022, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a June 2021 ruling that struck down the state’s 30-year-old assault weapons ban, and sent the case back to a district court for reconsideration in light of Bruen. In the 2021 ruling, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who’s frequently sided with gun rights advocates, said AR-15s are like Swiss Army knives, “a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment.” The case will return to his courtroom.
National Association for Gun Rights vs. City of San Jose: On August 3, 2022, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman denied a preliminary injunction that would have prevented San Jose’s gun liability insurance from taking effect the following week. National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) had filed suit to overturn the new law in January on the grounds that the annual “gun harm reduction fee” that gun owners will be required to pay is unconstitutional. In June, after Bruen was decided, Judge Freeman had asked the parties to file supplemental briefs that consider the new history-and-tradition test. In her opinion, Freeman said the fee “would not necessarily be inconsistent” with this new standard, since the justices ruled in Bruen that fees accompanying gun regulations are permissible as long as they’re not “exorbitant.” The law’s implementation is delayed by pending litigation and it won’t go into effect until next year.
On September 30, Freeman dismissed most of NAGR’s claims, saying it was unlikely the challenge would satisfy Bruen’s history-and-tradition test, and ruled that the liability insurance law could move forward.
Rhode v. Bonta: On June 24, 2022, the Ninth Circuit asked the parties involved in an ongoing challenge to the state’s 2016 ammunition background check law to prepare supplemental briefs in light of Bruen. The case was brought in 2018 by the California Rifle & Pistol Association and a group of ammunition retailers and private citizens, who argue that provisions that implement a vendor-licensing system and prohibit direct mail-order ammunition sales essentially “ban millions of constitutionally protected ammunition transfers and heavily burden countless millions more.” The law took effect in July 2019.
Rupp v. Bonta: On June 28, 2022, the Ninth Circuit sent a 2017 challenge to the state’s assault weapons ban back to a district court “for further proceedings consistent with” the Bruen decision. The plaintiffs, which include the California Rifle & Pistol Association and several private citizens, are arguing that semiautomatic rifles are “in common use by millions of Americans for self-defense” and thus protected by Heller. They also say the criteria that California uses to determine whether a gun is an “assault weapon” — features including pistol grips, adjustable stocks, and flash suppressors — “have [nothing] to do with rate of fire, ammunition capacity, power, or anything else linked to the rifle’s potential to be exploited for crime.”
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Town of Superior: On July 7, 2022, two gun groups, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights, joined a local resident in bringing a challenge to Superior’s semiautomatic rifle ban, enacted a year after a mass shooting at a supermarket in nearby Boulder left 10 people dead. The plaintiffs argue that the ordinance contradicts the history-and-tradition framework that Bruen directed lower courts to apply to Second Amendment cases. On July 22, U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore, an appointee of Barack Obama, agreed, concluding that the “plaintiffs have a strong likelihood of success on the merits” and issuing a temporary restraining order halting enforcement of the ordinance.
On August 18, 2022, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners also sued the cities of Boulder and Louisville over ordinances passed in June that ban assault weapons and large-capacity magazines and Boulder County for the assault weapon ban it passed in early August. On August 30, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order halting the enforcement of Boulder County’s assault weapons and high-capacity magazine ban. U.S. District Judge Charlotte Sweeney, a Biden appointee, wrote that the plaintiffs have established a “substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” citing Bruen’s history-and-tradition test. “ANOTHER ONE DOWN,” Rocky Mountain Gun Owners tweeted in celebration.
National Association for Gun Rights v. Lamont: On September 6, 2022, the gun group filed a lawsuit on behalf of a private citizen challenging the state’s 2013 ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, which were enacted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre. The plaintiffs contend that the guns and devices banned by the statute are in common use, and that Bruen “established that there is no tradition of banning commonly possessed arms.”
Days after the filing, the private citizen dropped out of the suit, saying she wasn’t a gun owner and had been recruited by the NAGR because the Colorado-based group needed a local resident to give it standing to sue. State Attorney General William Tong accused the group of “manufactur[ing] a lawsuit.” On September 13, 2022, NAGR filed an amended complaint replacing the previous plaintiff with a Connecticut-based NAGR member who doesn’t own guns.
Grant v. Lamont: On September 29, 2022, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit to overturn the state’s assault weapons ban on the grounds that it doesn’t satisfy Bruen’s history-and-tradition test.
Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association v. Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security: On July 20, 2022, an NRA-backed consortium of local gun rights groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the state’s three-week-old law prohibiting sales of certain semiautomatic rifles. The plaintiffs, which include local gun groups and private citizens, argue that since Delaware’s assault weapons ban was inspired by Maryland’s, and the Supreme Court vacated a challenge to Maryland’s ban and sent it back to a lower court for reconsideration because of Bruen, Delaware’s ban should be voided. On September 9, 2022, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint expanding on their argument that the state’s new semiautomatic rifle ban does not satisfy Bruen’s history-and-tradition test.
Rigby v. Jennings: On September 23, 2022, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika temporarily halted enforcement of a year-old Delaware law banning the manufacture and possession of homemade, untraceable “ghost” guns. Noreika ruled that the law did not comply with Bruen’s history-and-tradition framework.
United States v. Matthew Raymond Hoover: On July 1, 2022, Hoover, a gun dealer and YouTuber who was charged in January with conspiring to illegally distribute machine gun conversion devices, asked a U.S. District Court in Florida to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the 1934 federal law regulating machine guns doesn’t pass Bruen’s history-and-tradition test. Hoover’s lawyers go even further, asking the judge to rule the National Firearms Act unconstitutional. They cite 88-year-old Senate testimony in which then-Attorney General Homer Stille Commings admitted that lawmakers enacted a tax on machine guns instead of an outright ban in order to dodge questions of constitutionality.
National Association for Gun Rights v. Shikada: On September 6, 2022, the National Association for Gun Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of two private citizens challenging the state’s three-decade-old ban on so-called “assault pistols,” which the state defines as a semiautomatic handgun that accepts a detachable magazine and has two or more characteristics typically associated with semiautomatic rifles, including a threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor or forward hand grip. The suit also seeks to void a ban on the use of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds with such pistols. The plaintiffs argue that assault pistols are in common use, and that Bruen “established that there is no tradition of banning commonly possessed arms.” State Attorney General Holly Shikada is named as the defendant in the suit.
Young v. Hawaii: On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court returned a challenge to the state’s open carry licensing scheme to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The lower court had upheld the ban in March 2021. The plaintiff, George Young, is seeking to eliminate the requirement that gun owners demonstrate “the urgency or the need” to obtain a permit to openly carry a gun for the purposes of “the protection of life and property.” Young applied for an open carry license in 2011 but authorities determined he didn’t meet the “urgency and need” standard. The law’s defenders argue that openly carrying firearms can incite violent behavior and intimidate members of the public, and make it harder for police to identify public safety threats.
On August 19, 2022, the Ninth Circuit sent the case back down to district court to reconsider in light of Bruen’s holding that “may-issue” permitting schemes are unconstitutional.
National Association for Gun Rights v. Highland Park: On September 7, 2022, the National Association for Gun Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of a private citizen challenging the city’s nine-year-old ban on semiautomatic rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, which were enacted in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. The suit comes two months after a gunman used a semiautomatic rifle and three 30-round magazines to kill seven people and wound dozens of others at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb. The plaintiffs argue that semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity magazines are in common use, and that Bruen “established that there is no tradition of banning commonly possessed arms.”
National Association for Gun Rights v. Naperville: On September 7, 2022, the National Association for Gun Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of a local gun store owner challenging the city’s new ban on the sale of assault weapons. The Naperville City Council passed the ordinance in August and it is set to take effect on January 1, 2023. The plaintiffs argue that the law has no historical analogue, and therefore doesn’t comply with the history-and-tradition test set forth in Bruen.
Second Amendment Arms v. City of Chicago: On June 28, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Dow Jr. asked lawyers involved in a challenge to Chicago’s 2010 ban on gun laser sights to offer arguments on how Bruen impacts the case. “The court is particularly interested in whether the parties believe that the Supreme Court’s framework impacts the analysis and/or result,” he wrote. The laser sight ban is the last remaining issue in a case that was brought by a gun dealer in 2010.
Bianchi v. Frosh: On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court sent a challenge to the state’s assault weapons ban back down to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in light of Bruen’s new methodology. The Fourth Circuit upheld the ban in 2017, ruling that semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines were “dangerous and unusual weapons” and not protected by the Second Amendment under the standards set forth by Heller. The plaintiffs argue that semiautomatic rifles like AR-15s are “in common use” and thus protected by the Second Amendment. “There is no text, history, tradition of banning these certain types of rifles,” said Mark W. Pennak, the president of the gun group Maryland Shall Issue, one of the plaintiffs in the unsuccessful 2017 challenge to the ban.
Maryland Shall Issue v. Lawrence Hogan: The gun rights group first brought this challenge to the state’s handgun purchasing permit system in 2016. Last November, amid its fourth trip through the court system, the case was suspended pending the outcome in Bruen. The day after Bruen was issued, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit put the case back on the calendar. Maryland Shall Issue is arguing that the handgun licensing requirement is unconstitutional because it wasn’t implemented until the 1900s, and therefore doesn’t comply with SCOTUS’s new history-and-tradition framework for gun cases. The court has not said when it will rule.
National Association for Gun Rights v. Baker: On September 7, 2022, the gun group lodged a challenge to the state’s 1994 ban on assault weapons and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. In the filing, the gun group boasted of its success in a similar suit filed in July in Superior, Colorado, which resulted in the temporary pause of that town’s semiautomatic rifle ban. The Massachusetts suit lists Governor Charlie Baker and state Attorney General Maura Healey as defendants.
Morin v. Lyver: On October 3, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the state’s lifetime ban on gun purchases for people convicted of nonviolent firearm-related misdemeanors, and ordered the case back to the First Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration. The First Circuit last upheld the law in September 2021.
Prince George’s County, Maryland
A public defender successfully used Bruen to get illegal gun possession charges dismissed on the grounds that the state law criminalizing carrying a handgun without a permit is now unconstitutional. Another attempt, by a public defender in Baltimore who argued that “there is no sufficient historical tradition of banning firearm possession by drug felons” failed.
New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs v. Bruck: On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court sent a challenge to the state’s ban on high-capacity magazines back to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the law in 2020. The plaintiff, a member of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, is arguing that the 2018 ban is unconstitutional because it provides no exceptions for magazines owned before the law took effect, and thus violates a Fifth Amendment clause that protects against the confiscation of legally acquired property. They also argue that the devices are “widely owned,” and conflict with Heller’s ruling that weapons “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes” are protected by the Second Amendment.
The law’s defenders say that limiting the number of rounds in a magazine can save lives, as gunmen must stop to reload, providing opportunities for bystanders to intervene. Several mass shooters and would-be mass shooters have been stopped this way.
Several lawsuits have been brought against various aspects of New York’s concealed carry law, which took effect on September 1, 2022.
Antonyuk v. Bruen: On July 11, 2022, Gun Owners of America filed suit to strike a new requirement that concealed carry applicants furnish a list of their social media accounts as part of their background check, and eliminate a longstanding one that applicants supply at least four character references. The suit also took issue with the “good moral character” requirement, calling it a “standardless notion” that contradicts Bruen’s ruling that authorities shouldn’t be granted the discretion “to deny licenses based on a perceived lack of need or suitability.” In an August 15 filing defending that requirement, New York State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen (of the SCOTUS case) and state Attorney General Letitia James argued that the mandate complies with SCOTUS’s new history-and-tradition framework for deciding gun cases. In a move that drew criticism, they cited the country’s history of gun bans for Native Americans and Catholics, which are now widely seen as discriminatory. On August 31, 2022, Chief U.S. District Court Judge George Suddaby dismissed the case for lack of standing, but warned that he thought the concealed carry law was unconstitutional.
Antonyuk v. Hochul: On September 20, 2022, three weeks after Antonyuk v. Bruen’s dismissal for lack of standing, the plaintiff in that case, Gun Owners of America member Ivan Antonyuk, filed a second suit in the same court challenging several provisions of the state’s concealed carry law. Antonyuk joined with five new plaintiffs and broadened the pool of defendants to include Governor Kathy Hochul, local licensing authorities, and several district attorneys. On October 6, 2022, Chief U.S. District Court Judge George Suddaby — who dismissed Antonyuk v. Bruen for lack of standing but said he thought the law was unconstitutional — issued a temporary restraining order halting the enforcement of numerous provisions of the law, including the ban on guns in certain sensitive locations such as the subway and Times Square. Suddaby also voided the ban on guns on private property unless allowed by the owner, and said security personnel can carry guns in houses of worship. The law is paused for three business days so the state can file an appeal, which it plans to do.
Christian v. Bruen: On September 13, 2022, the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a challenge to the concealed carry laws that state lawmakers passed in response to Bruen, specifically the ban on guns in “sensitive places,” which include public transit, government buildings, places of worship, polling places, medical facilities, bars, public parks, and Times Square. The plaintiffs argue that the restrictions amount to “a de facto ban on the carriage of loaded, operable handguns for self-defense,” and that Bruen already made clear that state officials can’t define “sensitive places” so broadly.
Corbett v. Hochul: On July 11, 2022, a prospective New York City gun owner filed a challenge to the social media requirement, as well as new training requirements that mandate 18 hours of firearms instruction.
Goldstein v. Hochul: On September 29, 2022, a pair of Jewish gun owners filed a challenge to a provision in the state’s new concealed carry law that bans guns in places of worship. One of the plaintiffs, a Brooklyn resident who’s licensed to carry a firearm, said he wants to continue providing security services at the synagogue where he is president, citing recent anti-Semitic hate crimes — including the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. On September 30, District Judge Vernon S. Broderick denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order halting the law.
Lewis v. James: On July 8, 2022, an Erie County resident filed suit to overturn the state’s 2013 assault weapons ban based on Bruen‘s history-and-tradition test.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. v. Bruen (yes, again): On August 31, 2022, the gun group and the same New York residents who brought the first Bruen suit filed a challenge to the state’s new concealed carry law. They argue that the law “is intentionally vague, overbroad, and in contradiction of Bruen.”
Paladino v. Bruen: On July 11, 2022, Republican political activist and Buffalo resident Carl Paladino filed suit to strike the part of the law that designates private property a gun-free zone by default.
Vanchoff v. James, filed on July 12, 2022 by the Firearms Policy Coalition, sought to overturn the state’s assault weapons ban based on the history-and-tradition framework. The plaintiffs withdrew the complaint on September 2 after the New York-based defendants alleged that the California-based gun group lacked standing to sue. The case was dismissed on September 6, 2022.
New York City
Public defenders have been asking judges to dismiss gun possession charges on the assertion that Bruen renders the state’s 121-year-old gun permit statute unconstitutional. The tactic has been used in at least seven cases, four of which were unsuccessful. In rejecting the argument, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge wrote that “failing to seek a license before roaming the streets with a loaded firearm is not abiding by the law, and nothing in the Second Amendment requires that it be tolerated. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.” For its part, the Legal Aid Society says that lawmakers should “focus on real solutions to gun violence, which lie outside of the criminal legal system.”
People v. Pastrana: A state Court of Appeals judge agreed to hear an appeal from Pablo Pastrana, a Bronx man convicted of criminal weapon possession in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. Pastrana was a twice-convicted felon when police found a gun in the glove compartment of his car. In their filing opposing the motion, prosecutors argued that Bruen doesn’t apply because Pastrana didn’t apply for a concealed carry license, and because of his past convictions he wasn’t eligible for one anyway. Pastrana’s lawyers argued that because the state’s gun licensing scheme is “unconstitutional,” Pastrana shouldn’t have been required to seek out a permit to carry a firearm in the first place. One of Pastrana’s attorneys said the decision to hear the appeal is a sign that courts are “taking [Second Amendment] arguments seriously.”
Bassett v. Slatery: On September 6, 2022, the Firearms Policy Coalition filed an amended complaint in its 2021 suit seeking to extend permitless carry to 18-to-20-year-olds that cites the group’s successful effort to overturn a similar law in Texas in August. In the Texas case, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Pittman ruled that the handgun carry ban for adults under 21 had no valid historical precedent, and therefore didn’t satisfy Bruen’s history-and-tradition test. The plaintiffs are hoping for a similar outcome in Tennessee. The suit lists state Attorney General Herbert Slatery III and Jeff Long, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, as defendants.
Columbia Housing & Redevelopment Corp. v. Kinsley Braden: On October 13, 2022, the state appeals court struck down a ban on guns in public housing, ruling that no historical analogue justifies such a prohibition. A “tenant’s private home,” they wrote, “is not the kind of ‘sensitive place’ where the government may categorically ban firearm possession.”
Andrews v. McCraw: On August 25, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Pittman struck down Texas’s ban on handgun carry for people between the ages of 18 and 20, in a case brought by the Firearms Policy Coalition. Pittman’s decision cites Bruen’s history-and-tradition test, saying there is no valid historical precedent for the ban. “At the Founding, the common law age of majority was 21 years old,” the judge wrote. “States did not enact legislation lowering the age of majority to 18 until the 1970s.” Pittman allowed the law to stay in effect for 30 days while Texas officials weigh an appeal. The FPC is challenging similar restrictions in several other states.
USA v. Quiroz: On September 19, 2022, a federal judge in Texas struck down a 54-year-old prohibition on buying guns while under indictment for certain crimes. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge David Counts wrote that “the Court’s historical survey finds little evidence that [the law] aligns with this Nation’s historical tradition,” but said the court must follow the new framework: “There are no illusions about this case’s real-world consequences — certainly valid public policy and safety concerns exist. Yet Bruen framed those concerns solely as a historical analysis.” Since 1998, more than 106,000 people have failed an FBI background check because they’ve been under indictment.
Angelo v. District of Columbia: On June 30, 2022, four licensed concealed carriers in Washington, D.C., filed suit in U.S. District Court to overturn the gun ban on the District’s transit system. The plaintiffs argue that the ban doesn’t pass Bruen’s history-and-tradition test. On September 16, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine argued in a 44-page court filing that public transit is a “sensitive place” that falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment, a standard reiterated in Bruen, because it transports government workers and schoolchildren. Racine also provided examples of 19th-century limitations on public gun carry that could provide a historical analogue for the regulation.
Brown v. ATF: On September 27, 2022, the Second Amendment Foundation and the West Virginia Citizens Defense League filed suit to overturn the federal ban on handgun sales to adults under 21. The plaintiffs argue that the 54-year-old prohibition doesn’t satisfy Bruen’s history-and-tradition test.
United States v. Price: On October 12, 2022, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, a Bill Clinton appointee, struck down a federal law barring the removal of serial numbers from guns. Citing Bruen’s history-and-tradition test, Goodwin wrote that serial numbers weren’t required when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, that they weren’t widely used until the the Gun Control Act of 1968 required them, and that scratching them off wasn’t illegal before the Crime Control Act of 1990.