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What NYSRPA v Bruen Means For Second Amendment Radicals

A GLOCK 30 45 ACP Pistol. Soon, people in New York and other places will be able to carry this easily.

On the morning of June 23rd, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States finally issued it’s opinion on the case of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs Bruen. At stake was the fundamental right to keep and bear arms as acknowledged by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, and whether it applied outside of the home or not. In a 6-3 vote, the Court has ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right, and must be treated as such by the government. In an extraordinarily well-drafted opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the right to keep and bear arms is not a “second-class right subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees…”

To say this is titanic and beneficial to us is an understatement. And in a positive way, the nuance is in the details. So, what does the NYSRPA v Bruen decision mean for us Second Amendment Radicals?

But first, a little background information.

The NYSRPA v Bruen Case

Up until the 20th century, New York State had a rich tradition of relatively unrestricted firearms ownership. As the site of many pivotal battles in the Revolutionary War, the people understood the right to keep and bear arms. But, as the sad spectre of “progress” progressed, the right was curtailed, with the first big blow dropping in 1911 with the Sullivan Act.

Named for a notoriously corrupt New York State senator, Timothy Sullivan, the Act was ostensibly passed to regulate the possession and carry of concealable weapons in New York State. Sullivan, of Irish descent, was really targeting newer immigrants, namely Italians. The bill passed on a wave of anti-Italian sentiment, and established the concept of “may-issue” weapons permits in the US. What this did was it turned the issuance of permits in New York State to the local police forces, who could issue and deny permits on a whim. The immediate effect was that so-called “undesireables” were busted and jailed for violating the Act, whereas those who were part of the upper classes were issued permits, or were not prosecuted if they carried without one.

Despite it’s overt racial roots, the Sullivan Act remained, and still remains, on the books as the law of the land in New York State when it comes to carrying a firearm outside of the home. Though there’s concrete requirements for training, age, and passing a NICS inquiry, the discretionary power of local police and judges remained, in the form of a “good cause” requirement for a standard carry permit. In New York State, someone requesting a carry permit, i.e. the ability to legally carry a weapon on their person outside of the home, has to prove they “need to”. Some municipalities and counties in the state are essentially shall-issue, the applicant just says “I need it for self defense” and the permit is granted. In stricter areas, the police or judge will require evidence of a threat, and so on…

And they still may not even grant the permit after all that. One could spend hundreds in training and fees and just flat-out get denied because the judge is having a bad day, doesn’t like your race, or doesn’t like guns. Conversely the judge could issue a permit because you’re his cousin, a celebrity, or a big-time donor to his campaign.

The Sullivan Act in it’s original form stood for over a century. Until recently…

Enter Robert Nash and Brandon Koch

In 2016, two members of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, were possessors of hunting and target shooting permits in New York State. This allowed the two gentlemen the legal ability to possess handguns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting. New York State has a convoluted process to purchase and own firearms, with differing standards for long guns and handguns. And of course, evil black rifles in a form that most of us recognize are pretty much a no-go.

Anyways, because of the discretionary process mentioned earlier, the issuing authorities in a given New York jurisdiction can place restrictions on a carry permit. In the case of the petitioners (that’s a legal term for people who are bringing a case to the Supreme Court), their permits were only valid for hunting and going to the range. Any other use would be illegal. Citing a string of robberies in his neighborhood, and having taken higher-level classes in firearms handling, Nash requested that his local permit authority, one Judge Richard McNally of Rensselaer County NY, change his permit to an “unrestricted” status, which would legally permit him to carry a firearm outside of his home for defense. Around the same time, Brandon Koch requested the same, citing extensive experience and education in firearms.

McNally determined that neither gentlemen were in any sort of real danger, and thus had no “need” to carry a gun since they were not specific targets of criminal activity.

After numerous dismissals by State and Federal Courts, the case was finally granted certiorari (SCOTUS-speak for “yes, we will hear this case”) on April 26th, 2021. The case was heard by the Court on November 3rd, 2021. Court-watchers of all stripes immediately started declaring that “need” requirement of New York State’s carry permit process was in deep trouble.

And it definitely was. Finally, on June 23rd, 2022, the Court’s opinion was delivered, with a 6-3 majority ruling in favor of Koch and Nash, as represented by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.


In the majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court determined that the New York State carry permit licensing scheme violates the Second Amendment. Thusly by Justice Thomas:

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742 (2010), we recognized that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect the right of an ordinary, law-abiding citizen to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense. In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.

The parties nevertheless dispute whether New York’s licensing regime respects the constitutional right to carry handguns publicly for self-defense. In 43 States, the government issues licenses to carry based on objective criteria. But in six States, including New York, the government further conditions issuance of a license to carry on a citizen’s showing of some additional special need. Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an ap- plicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution.

Boom. Delivered by one of the greatest minds of jurisprudence in history, New York State’s draconian handgun licensing scheme has been declared unconstitutional. 111 years of smug progressive New Yorkers’ treasured words on paper has come to an end.

As of now, the national standard for carrying a weapon outside of the home is de jure shall-issue. Every jurisdiction has to be at the level of Florida, at the minimum, in terms of issuing carry licenses and permits.

But, does that mean New Yorkers (and others in may-issue states) can holster a pistol and go walkabout through Times Square tomorrow, fearing no legal repercussions? Like anything, the devil is in the details…

What NYSRPA v Bruen Means For May Issue States

The NYSRPA decision is a major victory for Second Amendment Radicals and armed citizens in may-issue states. Since the Supreme Court is a federal body, the ruling is binding nationwide, by the way. Equivalent cases from say, New Jersey, don’t have to fight up the ladder to SCOTUS. This case applies to them, too.

The processes to legally carry a weapon outside of the home will be forced to become simpler and more objective, as the decision acknowledges and guaratees that the right to keep and bear arms also applies outside of the home.

However, there will be a transition period, and it won’t exactly be easy. On a base level, outside of political histrionics, the various agencies tasked with issuing carry permits in the various may-issue states will have to shift to a shall-issue model. Forms will have to be revised, processes ironed out, that sort of thing. Also, most may-issue states are anticipating a crush of applicants, now that the people can be reasonbly sure they will be able to lawfully carry a firearm outside of the home. May-issue standards kept them away from the process - but not anymore.

Now, when you factor in political histrionics, the usual suspects have already stated they plan on trying to circumscribe the decision, or outright defy it. For example, the current mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, states that the plan is to declare schools, daycares, hospitals, and the entire mass transit system of New York City a “sensitive area”, thus rendering lawful carry unlawful. The prohibition will include an exclusionary radius of 1000 feet, as well. And at least in Manhattan, you’re never more than 1000 feet from the transit system.

Certainly this will run afoul of the spirit of the decision, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to get away with it.

Surprisingly, across the river in New Jersey, the regime seems to be more receptive to the concept, and has promised to issue new guidance regarding the carry permit process in the next few weeks. The guidos still can’t pump their own gas though.

And even California has stated that it’s ditching the “good cause” requirement.

Other states where some areas are may-issue on the books but shall-issue in practice will make the transition easily.

What This Doesn’t Mean - A Cautionary Statement

Amongst the non-gun population, there’s a lot of fog about NYSRPA vs Bruen. So it’s worth stating that this does not mean the bare minimum is Constitutional Carry. In 25 states, a permit is still required to carry a firearm outside of the home. While Justice Thomas made vague hints about shall-issue, the decision was not regarding that system. Also, the decision does not in any way nullify gun-free zones, and that sort of thing. SCOTUS decisions by their very nature are usually focused and nuanced. If you’re of a mind, you can read the decision. You have the time.

What NYSRPA vs Bruen Means For Everyone Else

NYSRPA vs Bruen nullified the “good cause” requirement of the New York State carry permit scheme, and by extention, the schemes of any other state that chose to emulate that model. However, there’s plenty to cheer about for those of us who live in shall-issue or Constitutional Carry states as well.

In the decision, Justice Thomas opined that the Second Amendment is not a “second class right” that is subject to an entirely different standard than the other rights guaranteed by the Bill Of Rights. With that simple statment comes clarity, reinforcing the concept that all inherent rights are equal to each other.

In addition, Thomas stated that:

…and to justify a firearm regulation the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation…

The regulation of firearms is actually a very recent thing in the United States when viewed from a grand perspective. Outside of racially-motivated “don’t sell rifles to the Injuns” type of laws, the actual concept of the government restricting firearms really only got legs in the 20th century. Thus, it can be argued that there is no serious tradition of gun control in our nation. Laws crafted to deny certain races the right don’t count.

Snitch lines, red flag laws, background checks, so-called “assault weapons” bans, magazine capacity restrictions, restrictions on the operating mechanism of guns, all those laws have little in the way of historical tradition, if any.

No one was regulating the size of the powder bag carried by a citizen in 1850. No one was passing laws about the barrel length of the barrel length of a Henry rifle in 1870. The town harridans didn’t have a mailbox where people could snitch on their neighbors. The local gunsmith didn’t ask the sherrif if it was OK to sell a rifle to someone - though to be fair if the gunsmith felt someone was a little “off”, they probably wouldn’t do the work. Andrew Jackson wasn’t writing executive orders because someone put a chunk of iron on their Brown Bess in a funny place.

Gun control is a modern conceit, in other words. Whether it was racially-motivated alcoholics like Tim Sullivan, crypto-Klansmen in the Deep South during the Jim Crow era, or modern classist trash like Michael Bloomberg and his pet catamite Shannon Watts, the idea that the government has a place in obscenely regulating firearms has no historical precedent.

Of course, that doesn’t mean tomorrow we’ll be getting machine guns dropped to us via an Amazon drone. Well, maybe if we pretend to be Ukranians…

But anyways, the decision provides a firm foundation of striking down various modern gun control laws. Low-hanging fruit like Donald Trump’s convoluted executive order banning bump stocks will likely be the first to fall. As a matter of fact, a bump stock case involving Central Texas Gunworks is conveniently being re-heard in the next few weeks. Potentially after that, state-level “assault weapons” bans will fall. Even crown jewels like the NFA itself can be threatened with the “historical tradition” clause of this decision.

Even the current pork-snitch-line-bribes-and-juvie-records-to-NICS BS that the regime signed on June 25th, 2022 can be challenged. There’s no historical tradition of bribing states to enact gun control laws. Sorry harridans, you may just have to go out and buy an AR-15 if it means that much to you.

But, as we’ve seen, the courts work slowly when it comes to Second Amendment issues. Bureaucratic morass and, to be fair, nuance comes into play. There are several 2A cases being held in conference by SCOTUS at the moment, and many of them could be granted cert soon. It may be years before it’s all worked out.

Regardless, those two words - “historical traditions”, are now a potent weapon of jurisprudence for us Second Amendment Radicals.

The Fight Never Ends

NYSRPA was a huge win for us Second Amendment Radicals and armed citizens. Demolishing the may-issue schemes of the elitist trash of this nation was a well-deserved win. After holding the line for so many years, it’s a true morale booster as well.

But, don’t think the cowardly and sneaky forces of gun control will just go snort some Xanax, get alcohol poisoning from Franzia, and take the L. They’re going to regroup, scheme more funding, and push back. It’s the nature of the beast.

We must be on guard, and also, for once, take the offensive. In football, the players don’t stop at the 5 yard line, they keep pushing til the touchdown, and so must we.

Never get complacent. Stay armed, stay smart, and most of all have fun!

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