SCOTUS hears Rensselaer County concealed carry case
Robert Gavin reports in the Times Union that an attorney representing two Rensselaer County gun owners told the U.S. Supreme Court on November 3, that his clients were denied a "fundamental constitutional right" when a judge would not issue them concealed-carry gun permits for personal protection. Paul D. Clement, a one-time U.S. solicitor general, told the court that the New York law "deprives a typical New Yorker of their right to carry for self-defense" under the Second Amendment, which allows the right to bear arms. Clement is representing Rensselaer County residents Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, as well as the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. At issue is the New York law governing the possession of guns outside the home. The state prohibits concealed-carry, but does allow judges and State Police to approve concealed-carry permits for lawful gun owners to hunt, shoot at target ranges or if the gun owners can prove they have a heightened risk for personal protection. Clement argued the framers of the U.S. Constitution left it to individuals to decide if they want to carry guns outside the home for self-defense. In 2016, his clients applied for concealed-carry permits for self-protection, but were denied by state Supreme Court Justice Richard McNally, the county's licensing officer. Koch, Nash and the gun association sued McNally and the State Police alleging their Second Amendment rights were violated. New York state solicitor general Barbara Underwood argued that dating to the 14th century, English and later American law has imposed limits on the carrying of guns in public in the interests of public safety. "New York's law fits well within that tradition of regulating public carry and makes a carry license available to any person, not disqualified, who has a non-speculative reason to carry a handgun for self-defense," Underwood told the justices. SCOTUS is expected to render a decision around June of next year. Read more about this story in the Times Union.