By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Two Wyoming organizations had completely opposite reactions to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eased gun restrictions in New York, with one praising the move and another condemning it.
Meanwhile, a candidate for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat praised the Supreme Court for its ruling to overturn the New York law.
“I’ve been saying for years what Justice Thomas has just opined,” said state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, founder of Wyoming Gun Owners. “That special instructions cannot be imposed on a right.”
On Thursday, the six of the nine justices ruled that a New York law improperly put restrictions on the rights of its residents to carry firearms in public for self-defense by requiring them to prove they have a special need for a firearm.
“The exercise of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate to government officers some special need,” said a summary of the ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas. “The Second Amendment right to carry arms in public for self-defense is no different.”
Mark Jones, Gun Owners of America’s national director of hunter’s programs, told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that his organization was thrilled about the ruling. However, he said it was sad that the justices even had to consider the case.
“We feel like they got it right,” Jones said. “To me, it was a question of whether or not that individual right extended to outside of the home. But it’s nice to see the Supreme Court do the right thing and uphold what most Americans would consider a common sense idea.”
The ruling overturns a New York law that required people who want to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon outside of their homes to prove they have “proper cause” to do so.
The lawsuit brought by two New York residents against the superintendent of the New York State Police challenged the law as a violation of both the Second and 14th Amendments.
Thomas, in the court’s majority opinion, said New York’s law treats law-abiding citizens within the state differently than citizens are treated in other states in violation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee to equal treatment under the law.
Thomas noted that only six states impose such a requirement on those who wish to carry firearms.
“In 43 States, the government issues licenses to carry based on objective criteria,” he wrote. “But in six States, including New York, the government further conditions issuance of a license to carry on a citizen’s showing of some additional special need. Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution.”
Since Wyoming is such a gun-friendly state, Jones said he did not expect the ruling would have much statewide impact, but he did think it might have an effect on the U.S. Senate, which is currently debating gun control legislation.
The proposed federal legislation comes in response to a series of mass shooting events in recent months that killed dozens.
President Joe Biden said in a statement he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court ruling, saying that it “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all.”
Also opposing the ruling was the Wyoming chapter of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America.
“As our gun violence crisis gets even worse, SCOTUS has decided to cave to the gun lobby’s extreme agenda and make it harder for states and cities to protect public safety,” the organization said on social media Thursday. “The fact that the Court ruled against New York makes it clear that it chose to put lives at risk and showed indifference to public safety.”
Bouchard, meanwhile, said he was pleased to see the court leaning away from conditional application of the Second Amendment, noting he was involved with the effort in Wyoming to do away with a requirement that residents obtain a permit to carry concealed weapons.
“Now there are 25 states doing the same,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “I’m pleased the Supreme Court has aligned with the protections in the constitution.”