Supreme Court Again Rejects Request to Block New York Gun Law

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down a request from firearms dealers in New York to block parts of recent state laws that they said violated their Second Amendment rights.

The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices act on emergency applications. On Jan. 11, the court, also without comment, rejected a request to block other provisions of one of the laws at issue in the new case.

The two orders suggest that the justices will not immediately elaborate on the scope of its landmark decision in June establishing that the Second Amendment protects, as Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

That decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, struck down a New York law that required people seeking a license to carry a handgun in public to demonstrate that they had a “proper cause.” State lawmakers promptly passed a new law that they said protected public safety while complying with the Supreme Court’s decision.

The firearms dealers in the new case, Gazzola v. Hochul, No. 22A591, filed a lawsuit in November challenging provisions of that law and an earlier one enacted in June, before the Bruen decision, saying they violated the Constitution and conflicted with federal law.

Judge Brenda K. Sannes of the Federal District Court in Syracuse rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, and a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit refused to enter its own injunction while an appeal moved forward.

The dealers then asked the Supreme Court to intervene.

The challenged measures include ones requiring security systems at gun stores, barring people under 18 from entering them unless they are with a parent or guardian, requiring workers to be at least 21 and requiring background checks for sales of ammunition.

In their own Supreme Court brief, state officials said that the Supreme Court has indicated that it did not intend to cast doubt on, in the words of Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., repeated the point in a concurring opinion in June in the Bruen decision, the state’s brief noted. “Thus,” lawyers for the state wrote, “this case does not involve any significant Second Amendment issue left open by Bruen that would warrant this court’s review.”

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