The Supreme Court permitted a New York law restricting the concealed carry of firearms to stay in force as challenges to the statute move through the legal system.

An emergency request from plaintiffs to pause the law was rejected; Justice Samuel Alito wrote a statement endorsed by Justice Clarence Thomas respecting the denial while stressing that the viability of the case was not in question.

“I understand the Court’s denial today to reflect respect for the Second Circuit’s procedures in managing its own docket, rather than expressing any view on the merits of the case,” Alito said. “Applicants should not be deterred by today’s order from again seeking relief if the Second Circuit does not, within a reasonable time, provide an explanation for its stay order or expedite consideration of the appeal.”

The court case follows the Supreme Court ruling last summer in a six-to-three decision against longtime restrictions on concealed carry in New York. The state law in question had conditioned the right to a concealed carry permit on “good moral character” and “proper cause.” The Supreme Court majority opinion written by Thomas took issue with the latter condition, which unlawfully forced New Yorkers to demonstrate “a special need for self-defense.”

“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” he contended. “That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”

More recently, however, officials in New York greenlit the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which prohibits guns in certain locations, demands gun owners request a property owner’s consent to carry on their premises, and requires a social media review ahead of gun purchases, according to a statement from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. Six residents challenging the law recently asked the Supreme Court to intervene.

Republican lawmakers say that the Concealed Carry Improvement Act stands in defiance of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last year. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced a resolution to the House of Representatives condemning the new legislation as a violation of the Second Amendment and encouraging all states to pass laws supporting the right to bear arms.

Several other states and localities controlled by Democratic officials have introduced restrictions on gun ownership in recent years. A law in Oregon bans the sale of magazines with a capacity of more than 10 bullets and includes a permit-to-purchase requirement that requires all customers to get a background check and attend gun safety training before acquiring a firearm. An executive order from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney outlawed firearms at city recreational facilities despite state law barring such restrictions. Both measures were challenged in the court system and blocked by judges.

Some 81.4 million Americans own firearms, representing 31.9% of the adult population, according to data from the most recent National Firearms Survey. The average gun owner has five firearms, with handguns as the most common type of weapon owned.

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