Today, June 23rd, 2022, Justice Clarence Thomas, born on this day in 1948, delivered the majority opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, striking at the beating heart of New York's flagrantly unconstitutional Sullivan Act.
The Sullivan Act, passed in 1911, establishes strict gun control within New York State with particular application within New York City. It guarantees that obtaining a personal firearm is going to be a long and costly bureaucratic nightmare. Beyond that, obtaining permission to actually carry that firearm on your person is nearly impossible. A few years back, I posed the question "How many concealed-carry permits are there in New York City?" The answer I derived was '2,291'. In a city of 8.8 million people, that is statistically zero.
Two New York residents who had 'possession' permits for their pistols (valid only at their home or business) wanted to carry those firearms concealed on their persons and were denied because, in keeping with the Sullivan Act, they were unable to demonstrate to the examiner that they had a need to be armed beyond simple self-defense. Five other states (you can almost guess who they are, can't you?) impose similar or identical restrictions. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association funded the several lawsuits resulting from that denial, culminating at the Supreme Court as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
Justice Thomas has several times in the past castigated his fellow justices for turning away 2nd amendment cases that were similar to Bruen, and it appears his complaining has finally borne fruit. The 6-3 decision gave Thomas the pen since the 2nd amendment seemed to have been his pet project. Finally, he has the ability to author a strong defense of the 2nd's original meaning. The 135 page decision will take some effort, no doubt, but given Thomas' erudition, it will be worth every minute.
Thank you, Justice Thomas. We have been waiting so long for this. Happy birthday.
Update: I have managed to actually read the official opinion (footnotes omitted) and there is something else in there that I didn't realize originally: NYSRPA v Bruen also explicitly instructs lower courts that when dealing with 2A issues strict scrutiny is the applicable level of judicial review. That means that any new or existing law, when it appears before a lower court, the state must now make a compelling case that the law at issue is both compliant with the Constitution and necessary for the public safety. When challenged, NYS will have to defend its $445 fee for doing a background check beyond that done (for free) by the federal government. Good luck with that. They will have to defend the overly intrusive 32 page questionnaire each applicant is required to complete. Good luck with that, too. Basically, the entire Sullivan Act is now at risk of being gutted like a perch.