The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus calls your attention to the recent case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court – “The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) vs. Bruen“. This case is the most significant gun case to reach the Supreme Court since Heller (holding a person has a right to possess a gun in the home for self-defense) and McDonald (applying the 2nd amendment to the states). Let’s take a look at what’s involved and what the implications could be to the licensing of firearms across the US, should New York State’s law be modified or struck down.


The Big Question – Does the Second Amendment guarantee all Americans the right to carry concealed firearms outside the home for the purpose of self-defense?  

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association is asking the Supreme Court to determine whether New York’s discretionary gun permit law, which requires an applicant demonstrate “proper cause” to carry a weapon for self-defense purposes, violates the Second Amendment. This case reached the Supreme Court because several Circuit Courts around the country have ruled differently on the question of a 2nd Amendment right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.


The respondent (NY’s licensing officer) believes that the New York law’s “proper cause” requirement is reasonable within a legislative context and therefore does not violate the Second Amendment.

The Campaign believes that an individual does not have unlimited right to carry a firearm in public, including spaces that include, but are not limited to: colleges and universities, sports stadiums, subway and transportation systems, etc.  In fact, petitioner’s counsel conceded to the Chief Justice during oral arguments that college campuses wouldn’t be impacted if concealed carry licensing changed.

If the Court strikes down New York’s “proper cause” requirement, the justices could issue a narrow ruling telling the state to rewrite its gun permitting rules and direct the circuit courts to reexamine the issue.

Or, the Court could decide that a discretionary, “may issue” concealed carry permitting system is altogether unconstitutional. This would force the eight “may issue” states to switch to a “shall issue” system where permits are automatically granted as long as certain requirements are met.

And yet another option could see the Court compose a whole new method for federal courts to use when deciding Second Amendment cases.

Best case scenario for us, the Supreme Court upholds New York’s current permitting system, but many do not think that this is a likely outcome.


Check out these links for more information about the NYSRPA case:
Cornell Law School – Legal Information Institute
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen oral argument before U.S. Supreme Court, November 3, 2021


The legal briefs and oral arguments before the Court have been completed and we expect that the court will render its decision in the Spring of ’22. In the meantime, while we cannot influence the court’s important decision, we can remain diligent in our shared fight of opposing any legislation or policy change that would force guns on more college campuses across our country.

Stay tuned as we update you on any developments in the states.


Photo: Joe Ravi via Wikimedia Commons