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Supreme Court Tosses Massachusetts Gun Law In Victory For Second Amendment

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a Massachusetts gun control law this week after delivering one of its most significant pro-Second Amendment decisions back in June by striking down New York’s concealed carry law as unconstitutionally restrictive.

The Massachusetts case — Morin v. Lyver — concerned the plaintiff being denied a new firearm license because he had two out-of-state misdemeanor convictions for weapons possession. Massachusetts law places severe restrictions on the possession and purchase of firearms, including the ability to obtain a license to possess handguns, if convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors,” the New York Post reported.


“The Supreme Court on Monday vacated the ruling by a lower court that found the Massachusetts law constitutional. The high court also sent the case back to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in light of its June ruling in the New York gun case. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the 6-3 majority, said the law’s requirement that New Yorkers who want a permit to carry a handgun in public show proper cause that the weapon is ​specifically needed for self-defense 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,” the outlet added.

The Supreme Court striking down New York’s concealed carry law is significant, experts say, because it means similarly restrictive concealed carry laws, limited primarily to blue states, are also likely to be successfully challenged.

“This decision is a big deal,” MPR noted. “Previously, the court had only said that the Constitution protected the ability to have a gun inside the home for self-defense. In that decision, which came down in 2008, the justices didn’t rule on how guns carried outside the home could be regulated. It took almost 15 years for the justices to come back to that question, but now they have.”

The Second Amendment “protect[s] an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion for Thursday’s ruling. As such, FiveThirtyEight continued, statues like the one in New York, “which required people who wanted a license to carry a concealed handgun in public to show they have a good reason, are no longer allowed.”

The analysis goes on to predict a “flood” of new litigation in states with similarly restrictively concealed carry laws.


But this major case wasn’t the high court’s only Second Amendment ruling, and in fact, SCOTUS likely opened the door to much of the expected new litigation.

“The Supreme Court said that gun cases involving restrictions in Hawaii, California, New Jersey, and Maryland deserve a new look following its major decision in a gun case last week,” the Western Journal reported Thursday.

“In light of last week’s ruling — which said that Americans have a right to carry a gun outside the home — lower courts should take another look at several cases that had been awaiting action by the high court, the court said. Those cases include ones about high-capacity magazines, an assault weapons ban and a state law that limits who can carry a gun outside the home,” the outlet reported, noting that by sending the cases back to lower courts, these laws will now get a second look under the new standard applied in Thomas’ majority decision.

The outlet adds:

One of the cases the justices sent back to a lower court Thursday involved a Hawaii statute similar to New York’s. In that case, a panel of 11 judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in 2021 that the right to “keep and bear arms” in the Constitution’s Second Amendment “does not guarantee an unfettered, general right to openly carry arms in public for individual self-defense.” But the high court said in its latest gun case that the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” A lower court will now have to revisit the Hawaii ruling.

SCOTUS also instructed federal appeals courts to take a new look at laws in California and New Jersey that put limits on the number of rounds a magazine can hold.

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