NYSRPA challenged a New York state law requiring New Yorkers to show a justifiable reason for having a concealed-carry permit to carry guns in public places. The League raised the implications of this case on polling places.
Two members of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) challenged an over 100-year-old New York law requiring residents to show proper cause to carry concealed firearms in public places. The case was dismissed by the district court in 2018, upholding the New York law, and then the case was appealed to the Second Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal in 2020.
NYSRPA appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court in late 2020, and the Court agreed to hear the case in early 2021. The League of Women Voters of the United States, along with the Leagues of Women Voters of New York and Florida, filed an amicus brief in September of 2021 raising the harmful implications on polling places of a decision weakening New York’s common-sense gun safety law. In June of 2022, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s law, further weakening gun safety laws across the country. Yet all nine Justices critically affirmed polling places as “sensitive places” in need of protection, leaving the door open for states to keep guns out of polling places.
The Court’s reasoning fails to consider the issue at hand — a state’s ability to protect residents from gun violence — and focuses instead on details that undermine the very function of federal courts to evaluate the law. With only the pleadings to consider, the Court employs a harmfully narrow view of the Constitution and eliminates part of a well-established test for evaluating a law in a modern society where gun violence in sacred places is running rampant. Instead of providing guidance to states and protecting the remaining structures of democracy, this opinion blesses the erosion of it.
The League was represented by Cooley LLP.
District court grants motion to dismiss
The district court grants defendants' motion to dismiss, ruling that the state's requirement that concealed handgun license applicants, "demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community" to satisfy the proper cause requirement does not violate the Second Amendment.
Second circuit court of appeals affirms dismissal
In a summary order, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the district court's dismissal, stating that New York State's licensing requirements at issue do not violate the Second Amendment under the circuit's precedents.
NYSRPA petitions for a writ of certiorari
The NYSPRA appeals to the United States Supreme Court, requesting that it reverse the Second Circuit's decision and rule whether the state's proper cause requirement for obtaining a concealed handgun license for self-defense is permissible under the Second Amendment.
United States Supreme Court agrees to hear case
LWV files amicus brief
LWVUS, LWV New York, and LWV Florida file an amicus brief in support of the New York state law, urging the Court to affirm the Second Circuit's decision. The brief emphasizes that regulations of firearms is necessary to protect voters and the electoral process from intimidation and violence.
Supreme Court hears oral arguments
Supreme Court strikes down New York's proper cause requirement for concealed handgun licenses
While the Court recognizes polling places as “sensitive places” where guns could be prohibited, its decision undermines states’ ability to protect other important public places from the threat of gun violence.