SCOTUS Makes First Gun Control Ruling in a Decade. What Happens Now?

More people will now be legally allowed to carry guns on the streets of the country's largest cities, including all five boroughs of New York City and other major metro areas.

In the Supreme Court’s first major gun control ruling in more than a decade, it has struck down a 1913 New York gun permit law requiring that a person applying for a license to carry a concealed handgun in public show "proper cause," or a specific need, to carry the gun. However, as experts anticipated, the court’s conservative majority ruled in a 6-3 decision that this violated the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

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The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the self-described nation’s oldest firearms advocacy organization, and two men seeking the ability to carry guns outside their homes without restrictions, originally brought the challenge to the law.

About a quarter of the entire U.S. population lives in states that are likely to be affected by the new ruling.

While it is relatively easy for gun owners in most of the country to legally carry their weapons in public, New York and a few other states have made it harder to do so. With the new ruling, major U.S. cities like Boston and Los Angeles are preparing for an anticipated increase in gun violence-related crime.

Now, according to two police sources, the New York Police Department (NYPD) must develop a new classification system for its gun licenses that includes required training on weapon handling and other protocol.

Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’ District Attorney, emailed prosecutors warning that the SCOTUS decision could lead to a flurry of motions from defense attorneys filing to have gun possession indictments or convictions dropped. After the decision was released, Bragg told The New York Times that it "severely undermines public safety." However, he remains committed to "doing everything in my power to fight for the safety everyone in this city deserves."

"New York still has some of the toughest gun laws in the country on the books, and we will continue to use these statutes to hold accountable those who commit gun violence," he told the NYT. "At this very moment, my office is analyzing this ruling and crafting gun safety legislation that will take the strongest steps possible to mitigate the damage done today."

New York state legislators are also responding to the ruling. In early June, they passed a package of gun legislation to bolster protections in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling. Governor Kathy Hochul signed all 10 bills into law, which includes one banning anyone under the age of 21 from buying or owning semi-automatic rifles.

Now that the court has made its ruling, lawmakers could add new gun permitting conditions, like mandated firearm training, mental health evaluations, or disqualifying applicants with certain types of criminal convictions, and they also could pass a law stipulating where people can’t carry concealed weapons. This list would likely include public transit systems, school zones, parks, government offices, bars, and polling places.