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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Court holds Second Amendment protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense"

In another key victory for constitutional rights, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a ground-breaking decision today in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. In ruling for the plaintiff gunowners—supported by Oklahoma—the Court held that the Second Amendment protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

The Court struck down New York’s law that only permitted public carry when an applicant could demonstrate a “special need” to do so.

“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,’” the Supreme Court emphasized. “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. …And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”

Oklahoma joined 25 States in Bruen, urging the Court to issue its first significant gun-rights decision since Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010). This nationwide coalition contended that less restrictive concealed carry laws increase public safety rather than crime. Justices Kavanaugh and Alito, who joined the majority, each cited Oklahoma’s brief in their respective concurrences.

“I commend the U.S. Supreme Court for recognizing that the Second Amendment means what it says and is not a ‘second-class’ right that can be trampled upon by governments on a whim,” said Attorney General John O’Connor. “Ordinary, law-abiding citizens can now be assured that they do indeed have a right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside of their homes. This is a major victory for public safety, for everyday rule-following Americans, and for our Constitution.”

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has now submitted briefs in ten cases at the U.S. Supreme Court this term in support of prevailing parties. These briefs have helped defend the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, among other important protections of our rights.

To read the Bruen decision, click here. To read the Attorney Generals’ joint amicus brief, click here.

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