Law/Justice

Public Defenders vs. Gun Control

By Damon Root, Reason

A Supreme Court decision against New York’s gun control scheme would be a victory for both criminal justice reform and the Second Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this fall in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which challenges the constitutionality of a state law requiring that anyone seeking a license to carry a concealed handgun in public first satisfy a local official that he has “proper cause” to do so.

Like other big cases about hot-button issues, this one has attracted a lot of amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs. Many of those briefs will have zero influence on the ruling. But one filed in July just might have an impact.

The brief comes from a coalition of public defense lawyer organizations, including the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid, the Bronx Defenders, and Brooklyn Defender Services. They urged the Supreme Court to overturn New York’s gun licensing scheme both because it violates the Second Amendment and because it disparately harms black and Hispanic people who carry firearms for self-defense purposes.

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