Five states—California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey—have laws similar to the New York one the court struck down. All that law did was require that people who want a concealed carry permit show “proper cause” to get one. Apparently that is too onerous a restriction. The court, in the opinion authored by Justice Clarence Thomas and a concurring opinion from Alito, makes clear that people should not have to show proper cause to walk around in public with guns hidden on their person.
”This is a dangerous decision from a court hell bent on pushing a radical ideological agenda and infringing on the rights of states to protect our citizens from being gunned down in our streets, schools, and churches,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. “Shameful.”
The decision will mean “more deaths and more pain in a country already awash in gun violence,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement. That’s as the court intends it.
”These states have to come into compliance, or we will force them to,” a lawyer for Gun Owners of America told The New York Times. And, showing that even Gun Owners of America was surprised by the Supreme Court’s extreme move, he also said, “This is a lot broader than I thought the court was going to go.”
The affected states have already been working to revamp the laws similar to the New York one, anticipating that the court would strike it down. In California—where thanks to strong gun laws, gun deaths are almost 40% lower than in the rest of the country—lawmakers are already moving on a bill to revise the state’s “public carry” law, in addition to passing another 16 new gun laws.
Legislative leaders in Maryland said they were prepared to pass legislation that “protects Marylanders and complies with this brand-new precedent.”
But any way that states try to maintain some limits on the public carrying of concealed firearms is guaranteed to generate more legal challenges, challenges that will end up in a court determined to increase gun violence in this country. And that’s why the most important gun safety measure possible would be expanding the Supreme Court.