A decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen is expected by this summer. The need for review of this case was expressed by several menbers of the Court, that felt some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. When oral arguments drew to a close with this case on November 3 2021, it seemed likely that this 108 year old New York handgun-licensing law was in jeopardy. The law requires anyone who wants a license to carry a concealed handgun to show “proper cause” for the license. Courts in New York have defined “proper cause” to require applicants to show a special need to defend themselves, rather than simply wanting to protect themselves or their property.
In a “may Issue” state you must pass basic requirements and the issuing authority may issue you a permit. In a “shall Issue” state there are clearly defined parameters that you must fall within to get your license. Currently there are 40 states that have a Shall Issue permit system. The state will issue a concealed carry permit to any person who applies and meets the requirements. Some states will only issue permits to residents, while others will issue permits to some or all non-residents. There are some states that are constitutional carry while also issuing concealed carry permits. Constitutional carry does not affect previously issued permits to carry and allows those who still wish to obtain a permit in order to carry in states recognizing existing state permits to do so. It also does not allow anyone prohibited under state or federal law from possessing a firearm to carry a firearm. Currently there are 9 states that have a May Issue permit system. The state will make a judgment call about to whom to issue a concealed carry permit after the resident has completed the application and met the requirements. Some states will only issue permits to residents, while others will issue to some non-residents, such as members of the military. As of March 11, 2022, Vermont is the only state that never issues permits. No permits are issued, however the state allows concealed carry.
The Second Amendment allows law-abiding citizens, no matter where in the country they live, to bear arms for self defense. However, each state does have its own specific rules and regulations regarding the right to own, carry, and use firearms. When seeking a license or permit to carry, you’re likely to encounter either “shall-issue” or “may-issue” scenarios. Shall-issue vs. may-issue might seem like a small grammatical difference, but the results can be a very different outcome for gun owners who want to legally carry a handgun, openly or concealed. Whatever SCOTUS decides this summer it is sure to change the gun laws in this country. Hopefully this decision keeps all gun laws from infringing the rights the 2nd Amendment grants, and removes those that don’t.