As the third major ruling in a gun case since the Constitution was written, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, struck down a 100-year-old law in New York. The law, known as “may-issue,” stipulates that an applicant must pass basic requirements and that the issuing authority (county sheriff, police department, etc.) is allowed to use its own discretion in either issuing or denying a permit. Basically, it is much harder to obtain a concealed carry permit in states that are may-issue.

Basic Background of New York’s Gun Laws

To receive an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm outside the home in New York, a person must show “proper cause.” This is interpreted as “a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.” If a person does not have what New York deems a “special need for self-protection,” the issuing authority can deny him or her a permit. Robert Nash and Brandon Koch each applied for a permit to carry for self-defense and were denied for those reasons.

These men took that decision all the way up to the Supreme Court, stating that the may-issue law violates their Second Amendment right. Fortunately for responsibly armed Americans, the Supreme Court ruled that it did indeed violate the Constitution.

What the Supreme Court Ruling Means for Other May-Issue States

There are currently nine states with “may-issue” permits:


The decision by the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) v. Bruen will set the standard on how other states can regulate citizens choosing to carry concealed outside of their homes. It will no longer be at the discretion of the issuing authority.

“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the Court.

However, the Court’s decision will not impact a state’s right to impose licensing requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit. This means that each state can set its own specific requirements (such as training, age, background, etc.) to qualify for a concealed carry permit. Although, the decision will then force the state to issue the permit if the applicant meets all the requirements.