On November 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a case challenging the constitutionality of a New York gun safety law regulating the concealed carry of firearms in public. Everytown filed an amicus brief in September, defending the constitutionality of New York’s law. As you prepare to cover the case, here are some highlights from amicus briefs filed by leading conservative thinkers, national security experts, and faith leaders arguing that the Supreme Court should uphold New York’s law:
- Prominent conservative former government officials and legal experts conclude that New York’s law is constitutional based on the Second Amendment’s text, history, and tradition. Former federal appellate judge Judge Michael Luttig, leading Supreme Court advocate Carter Phillips, former Acting U.S. Attorneys General Peter Keisler and Stuart Gerson, and others argue in their brief that “[t]ext, history, and tradition—without resort to any judicial balancing—show that a constitutional right to bear arms outside the home, in public and in public places, has never been unrestricted and indeed, has historically been restricted in many public places.” Focusing on founding-era statutes, the brief details how states (and colonies) have restricted and regulated the carrying of guns in public places in this country going back centuries. New York’s law, the brief points out, is “less restrictive” than these founding-era statutes.
- Former national security officials argue that regulation of concealed carry of firearms protects paramount national security and public safety interests. In this brief, a broad cross-section of the national security community, representing former career and politically appointed officials from the NSC, DOD, DOJ, FBI, CIA, and other agencies, argue that unchecked access to firearms in the United States poses serious national security and public safety challenges for communities, and an unfettered ability to carry concealed firearms in public would only exacerbate those challenges. As such, there is a paramount interest in ensuring that national security and law enforcement officials can keep dangerous concealed weapons out of the hands of those who would use them to do harm.
- Faith leaders argue that New York’s law imposing restrictions on concealed carry reduces threats to religious institutions and gatherings. The brief, submitted by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, the General Conference of American Rabbis, the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Reconstructing Judaism, and over 400 individual clergy and faith leaders highlights the recent increase in violent attacks on religious gatherings, most often carried out with firearms. Restrictions on firearms in public would reduce this threat, thereby serving the recognized goal of protecting “sensitive places” from gun violence. Because religious institutions conduct many of their ministries outside the walls of the worship space (in which they can prohibit firearms) New York’s restrictions on concealed carry are essential for allowing religious communities to exercise their faith free from gun violence.
Read Everytown Law’s amicus brief here. Legal experts from Everytown Law are available for interviews ahead of oral argument.