Justice Clarence Thomas authored the 6-3 Supreme Court decision Thursday that ruled New York‘s long-standing concealed carry law violated the Second Amendment of the Constitution in a ruling that was quickly rebuked by Gov. Kathy Hochul and fellow Democrats.
The six Republican-appointed justices on the high court broke along ideological lines from the three Democratic-appointed justices, who joined a dissent authored by Justice Stephen Breyer.
“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,'” Thomas wrote in the opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Thomas added that there is “no other constitutional right” that requires a person to demonstrate some sort of special need to government officers in order to obtain a concealed carry permit.
“That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense,” Thomas said.
Breyer argued for the minority of justices that the Second Amendment provides states the ability to “take account of the serious problems posed by gun violence.”
“Many States have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence … by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds. The Court today severely burdens States’ efforts to do so,” Breyer wrote.
Read the full 135-page opinion below: