by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Supreme Court’s landmark 6-3 opinion on gun laws, emphasizing “historical tradition,” has quickly become a vital lifeline for gun rights advocates challenging state firearms regulations in lower courts.
The high court decided New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen on June 23 last year, where Justice Clarence Thomas, the most conservative on the bench and staunch defender of Second Amendment freedoms, wrote for the majority that New York’s 108-year-old “proper cause” concealed carry regime was unlawful.
“It’s the framework that is going to be used on almost all challenges that will be coming up regarding the Second Amendment,” Tom King, executive director of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the plaintiff in the landmark case, told the Washington Examiner.
Although the ruling directly affected New York’s law, it had a sweeping influence on other states, leading lawmakers to evaluate new regulations complying with the Supreme Court decision while preserving strict ownership laws. Attorneys general in California, Hawaii, and New Jersey issued similar directives informing residents they could no longer require concealed carry permit applicants to demonstrate a justifiable need to carry a handgun.
In the immediate eight months after the Bruen decision, there were 31 successful claimsin lower court legal fights where it’s been cited, according to Jake Charles, an associate professor at Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law, who has tracked lawsuits against firearms laws.
“It’s definitely more than 31 claims now,” Charles told the Washington Examiner,nearly 12 months after the decision.His data from June of last year to February indicates a 14.6% success rate out of around 212 lower court cases that cited the recent Bruen opinion.
The count of successful claims in firearms disputes post-Bruen dramatically upstaged the immediate effect of 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller. …