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Gun Violence Prevention Experts See Dangerous Impact From Supreme Court’s Ruling

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decision unravels basic public safety measures and will lead to more guns in more public spaces.


Today, the Supreme Court issued a decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that rolls back basic gun safety measures in New York, and will likely make New Yorkers—and potentially millions of other Americans—less safe in their communities.

In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that an element of New York State’s handgun permitting law, requiring that applicants show “proper cause” to obtain a permit, violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. The majority opinion also recognized a constitutional right to carry firearms in public and imposed a subjective “text, history, and tradition” test on lower courts for evaluating whether gun laws violate the Second Amendment.

Legal experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the Bloomberg School reacted to the decision. 

Kelly Roskam, JD, Director of Law and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, and a contributor to an amicus brief filed with the Court that was referenced in Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissenting opinion said

“By establishing a text, history, and tradition test, the Supreme Court dismissed the importance of compelling government interests, such as public safety, in ways wholly inconsistent with how the Court evaluates other constitutional rights. The Court also failed to provide adequate guidance to lower courts on how to apply such a test, likely leading to wide variability in application in the coming wave of litigation. This means courts evaluating future challenges to gun safety laws will increasingly rely on incomplete, false, or extremely subjective readings of history rather than empirical evidence about the real-world impact of expanding access to guns and leading to more gun deaths.”

Alex McCourt, JD, PhD, MPH, Director of Legal Research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions said: 

“Research has found that increased carrying of guns in public is associated with increased gun violence. The Court disregarded this evidence when issuing its decision. Our research demonstrates that making it easier to carry guns in public will result in more gun deaths in New York and across the country in states where similar laws will be challenged.

“This case calls into question the fate of similar may-issue permitting laws and other evidence-based gun laws in states across the country.”