Justice Clarence Thomas Finally Gets to Write Pro-Gun Opinion — Right to Bear Arms is Not a Second-Class Right

The U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down a New York law that barred law-abiding residents from carrying guns in public. And Justice Clarence Thomas got to write his long-awaited majority opinion.

The court ruled 6-3 that the state’s requirement that gun-owning residents show a “proper cause” to carry their handguns in public was unconstitutional.

The high court in April agreed to hear New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. Two men filed a lawsuit against the state over a law that requires gun owners to provide “proper cause” to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun outside their homes. The Supreme Court confirmed in D.C. v. Heller (2008) that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an individual right to self-defense. The plaintiffs received permits to carry guns outside their homes for hunting and target practice, but the state rejected their request to carry handguns outside their homes for self-defense.

Delivering the majority opinion, Justice Thomas wrote (PDF – 135 pages) that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not “a second-class right.” New York’s “proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”

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