It is always tricky guessing what Justices will do behind closed doors, but judging by the questions they asked today it appears likely that they will look for ways to overturn New York’s concealed carry law that requires applications to provide a reason they must carry a weapon. The litigants claim it is their 2nd Amendment right to carry a pistol in public and so there is no “show cause” reason to meet.
A New York law that imposes strict limits on carrying guns outside the home seemed unlikely to survive its encounter with the Supreme Court, based on questioning from the justices on Wednesday during two hours of arguments.
Several members of the court seemed to be searching for a way to rule narrowly in the case, which could involve deciding that local officials have too much power to deny licenses to people seeking to carry guns in public for self-defense while affirming the state’s right to exclude guns from sensitive places.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., for instance, expressed skepticism about New York’s licensing system, saying it was surprising that a constitutional right was subject to the discretion of local officials. But he was among the justices who asked questions about whether guns could be barred at settings as varied as subways, protests, Yankee Stadium, Times Square on New Year’s Eve and college campuses like New York University and Columbia University.
While this and other Courts have upheld a right to own a gun in your home, the question of whether you have a right to carry a gun anywhere you wish is an open question.