Last summer, the Supreme Court said that New York gun laws violate the constitution. Now, a judge has ordered the state to pay the NRA for that violation. Here is the full story.
Vague Gun Laws
In June of 2022, the United States Supreme Court ruled that New York’s state gun laws were vague and overly restrictive.
“Proper Cause” Not So Proper?
This judgment came after the court heard arguments in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which sought to overturn the state’s “proper cause” gun law.
Protection Not Enough
Under that statute, anyone who wanted to carry a weapon had to prove that they had a good reason for the request.
Personal or property protection wasn’t enough in most cases.
Who Were They to Decide?
And what really irked gun rights supporters was that New York officials got to decide if a stated reason for concealed carry was good enough or not.
NRA Took up the Cause
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and many others thought those rules were arbitrary and decided to take the matter to court.
Trump Stacked the Deck
Eventually, the matter landed in the highest court in the land before a panel of justices that former President Donald Trump had helped tilt to the right.
A Close Call
In a narrow decision, the Supreme Court sided with the gun enthusiasts and ordered that the New York law was unconstitutional.
Justice for All
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the constitution protects the right to bear arms for all law-abiding citizens and not just for those who can show a special need.
New York Unconstitutional
Therefore, Thomas continued, the state of New York had violated the Constitution.
The law was gone, and more people than ever would be carrying guns all over New York.
Gun Control Scramble
In response to the decision, left-leaning groups got to work to enact some countermeasures.
Chief among those was the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).
Voted into law shortly after the Supreme Court verdict, the CCIA prohibits carrying guns in very crowded or hot-button venues like churches, schools, and stadiums.
It also tightened requirements around safety training and gun records.
Back in Court
But even with both sides digging their trenches and drawing clear lines in the sand, the legal wrangling wasn’t done yet.
NRA Footed the Bill
Turns out, the NRA had thrown their heft into the Bruen case back in 2022, and they ran up a hefty legal bill in the process.
They Wanted Their Money
So the national organization filed a suit against New York seeking to reclaim some of the funds they spent on a case that their side won.
New York Has to Pay
In late September of 2023, a New York judge sided with the NRA and issued a judgment against New York state for nearly half a million dollars.
Victory for Gun Rights
Michael Jean, who heads up the NRA’s legal team, says the decision represents a symbolic victory for gun rights in America.
Justice Carries a Gun
“…justice is definitively on our side,” Jean said in the aftermath of the judgment.
Scratching the Surface
But Jean also said that the NRA spent three times the settlement amount on the Bruen case.
The half a million dollars just “scratches the surface” on what they’re owed, according to Jean.
So does that mean the NRA will be back in court trying to make New York and other states pay even more in restitution?
More Duels Ahead
Only time will tell, but there’s little doubt the legal battles over gun control in the United States are just ramping up.
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