Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

Published on June 23rd, 2022

Following is a statement from Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen:

“We are troubled that the Court has overturned a law dating back more than a century that has been largely accepted by the state’s population for all of that time. The duly-elected members of the state legislature could have at any time over the past 110 years revisited its policies on how it licenses individuals for the purpose of carrying concealed handguns outside the home if it was the will of the citizens of the state. It’s regrettable that the U.S. Supreme Court has now chosen to step in to do so. It’s important to note, however, that the decision does not overturn the rights of states to require licenses to possess handguns, whether inside the home or out. The issue was what the Court considered to be the subjective nature of New York’s law requiring the demonstration of a particular need above and beyond simple desire for self defense.

“Further, we are heartened that Justice Alito’s concurring opinion specifically makes clear that the holding in this cases ‘decides nothing about who may lawfully possess a firearm or the requirements that must be met to buy a gun.’ Justice Alito adds that the case does not ‘decide anything about the kinds of weapons that people may possess.’” Therefore, this decision does not appear to slam the door in any way on licensing requirements, age restrictions or assault weapons bans.

“The Bishops of New York State support reasonable gun laws to address street crimes, domestic violence, suicide, and mass shootings. We are happy to support efforts by Governor Hochul and the legislature to pass new legislation that will meet constitutional muster with the Supreme Court.”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.