Five opinions released, but SCOTUS still silent on Bruen decision

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Supreme Court continued to whittle down the number of cases still before the justices on Tuesday, releasing opinions in 5 of the 18 cases from this term that had yet to be released, but the hotly anticipated decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen was not among them.

The Court’s next day to release opinions will be Thursday of this week, and there was a lot of speculation in the SCOTUSblog live chat this morning that justices will dispense with the remaining cases, including Bruen, two days from now. Of course, there was also quite a bit of speculation that there’s been some vote-shifting among the justices in Bruen, despite the fact that there’s absolutely no evidence pointing towards that scenario, so take any and all speculation with however many grains of salt as you like. Given that we still have 13 decisions remaining, I doubt that the Court is going to release them all in one fell swoop, and I think the most likely scenario is that Bruen is one of the last opinions to be released sometime next week.

What we do know is that the opinion is coming soon, and as we discussed on Monday’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, gun control advocates and anti-gun politicians are already prepping for the decision by strategizing on how to severely curtail where concealed carry licensees can bear arms if states are no longer allowed to limit who can carry by requiring applicants to demonstrate “good cause” or a “justifiable need” before they’re approved by the licensing authority.

While the gun prohibitionists aren’t going to simply give up and slink away, a strong Supreme Court decision could still mean a dramatic improvement for New Yorkers, as this incredibly biased report from CBS 2 in New York City recently detailed.

Here’s the good news: the NYPD already has a four-point plan to try to limit both the number of guns and the places it will be legal to bring them if the high court overturns our strict gun laws. The bad news is that more people may seek to get guns.

“The NYPD has always been quite careful about who they give permission to to carry guns and that has really kept the number of people carrying guns, lawfully, way down,” said Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission.

Aborn is right when he says the NYPD has been careful, and some say admirably stingy, when it comes to issuing gun permits that allow New Yorkers to carry concealed weapons on the streets of the city.

CBS2 has learned that at present only about 1,700 people have the right to carry a gun when they leave home and 1,400 more have carry licenses issued by other counties that need New York City endorsement to carry in the five boroughs.

But with the Supreme Court poised to overturn New York’s strict gun carry laws, the big worry is the people who have been issued permits to have guns in their homes, which can also be used on a firing range. Conceivably, they could be turned into concealed carry permits because of the Supreme Court decision.

CBS2 has learned that:
  • 16,462 city residents have so called “premise residence” permits
  • 773 have “premise business” permits
  • 2,403 have “carry guard” permits that can be carried while working but have to be left at the place of business at the end of the shift

John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, told CBS2 in a memo that a ruling against New York, “… does not mean that you wake up the morning of the ruling and the premises permit magically turns into a carry.”

Depending on the ruling, it could take New York a year or two to implement, Miller says, especially if the court allows New York to limit the places a gun can be carried, so-called “sensitive places.”

Is there any doubt about the anti-Second Amendment bias on the part of the CBS statiion here? The “bad news” is that more New Yorkers may want to legally exercise their right to carry a firearm in self-defense? That’s only bad news if you believe that our constitutional rights should be based on zip codes, population density, and (most importantly in New York) who you know and how much money you make.

As for the idea that New York can drag its feet for several years to implement any changes to the law required by the Supreme Court’s decision, the city and state will quickly find themselves back in court if they fail to abide by the Court’s order in good faith. It didn’t take Washington, D.C. a year or two to rescind its prohibition on keeping handguns in the home after the Court’s decision in Heller back in 2008, and when the District’s own “good cause” requirement was struck down by the D.C. Court of Appeals (a decision that District officials decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court), the city’s “may issue” law quickly became a “shall issue” statute with little delay.

Even if the city and state quickly accede to the Court’s order (which they won’t), Aborn is right that there will be a lot of New Yorkers suddenly applying for a carry license, and we may very well end up seeing lengthy delays in processing the onslaught of applications, particularly if New York Mayor Eric Adams decides to freeze or even reduce the number of employees in the NYPD Licensing Bureau. We saw something similar during the early days of the COVID pandemic in 2020, when many government offices were closed to the public and concealed carry applicants across the country were told it would be a year or more before they could even apply for a license. If New York wants to play games with the constitutional rights of residents, that would be one easy way to do so, and I suspect that Adams might suddenly decide that those working in the Licensing Bureau are needed elsewhere if SCOTUS does declare the current rules violate the Second Amendment.