Bruen Dissent and Gun Control (Part 47)

by | Jan 10, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

Supreme Court - Gun RightsJustice Breyer concluded with the following: As I have demonstrated above, see supra, at 3–9, firearms in public present a number of dangers, ranging from mass shootings to road rage killings, and are responsible for many deaths and injuries in the United States. The Second Circuit then evaluated New York’s law and concluded that it is “substantially related” to New York’s compelling interests. Kachalsky, 701 F. 3d, at 98–99.

To support that conclusion, the Second Circuit pointed to “studies and data demonstrating that widespread access to handguns in public increases the likelihood that felonies will result in death and fundamentally alters the safety and character of public spaces.” Id., at 99. We have before us additional studies confirming that conclusion. See, e.g., supra, at 19–20 (summarizing studies finding that “may issue” licensing regimes are associated with lower rates of violent crime than “shall issue” regimes). And we have been made aware of no less restrictive, but equally effective, alternative.

After considering all of these factors, the Second Circuit held that New York’s law does not unconstitutionally burden the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. I would affirm that holding. New York’s Legislature considered the empirical evidence about gun violence and adopted a reasonable licensing law to regulate the concealed carriage of handguns in order to keep the people of New York safe. The Court today strikes down that law based only on the pleadings. It gives the State no opportunity to present evidence justifying its reasons for adopting the law or showing how the law actually operates in practice, and it does not so much as acknowledge these important considerations. Because I cannot agree with the Court’s decision to strike New York’s law down without allowing for discovery or the development of any evidentiary record, without considering the State’s compelling interest in preventing gun violence and protecting the safety of its citizens, and without considering the potentially deadly consequences of its decision, I respectfully dissent.

Again the dissent cites to a vague and potentially mis-leading statistic: “widespread access to handguns in public increases the likelihood that felonies will result in death.” The numerous restrictions and qualifications surrounding permits to carry prevent “widespread access” to handguns. Moreover, if the resultant “death” is a violent felon’s death as opposed to a victim who acted in self-defense, the only cause for concern is the dissent’s rationale.