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What the Supreme Court Ruling on Gun Rights Means For Arizona

June 24, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

On Thursday, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down New York’s concealed carry restriction requiring individuals to prove that they required “a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., et al. v. Bruen, Superintendent of New York State Police, et al., opinion author Justice Clarence Thomas declared that New York’s “proper-cause requirement” violated the Fourteenth Amendment by “preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self defense needs” from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.

Arizona is one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation. However, nothing in this world is immune from change. This principle is most obvious with the makeup of the state legislature: the Republican majority has been shrinking over the past decade. A loss of the majority would likely result in an overhaul of current gun rights in the state.

At present, state law allows citizens 18 or older to openly carry a firearm without a permit, and individuals 21 or older may concealed carry a firearm without a license or permit (unless they’re active military or veterans aged 19 or older). The law also doesn’t require individuals to obtain a permit or registration for firearms, and it also doesn’t require a background check when purchasing a handgun from a private individual. Additionally, there aren’t any magazine size restrictions.

Though, it may not just be the loss of a majority that ushers in sweeping gun control measures. State legislators’ assessments of Thursday’s witching hour budget proceedings revealed that current Republican leadership may be willing to work with Democrats to reform gun laws. 

State Representative Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) predicted that the budget’s bipartisan support was a harbinger of governing changes to come out of the legislature. Parker warned that current Republican legislators would back gun control measures, in what would be similar to their D.C. counterparts working currently with the White House to pass red flag legislation. 

This ruling is the latest in a series that conservatives chalked up as crucial victories for constitutional protections. Supporters of the gun rights ruling expressed fondness of Thomas’ explanation of how, historically, gun control laws were implemented to bar Black individuals from gun ownership. 

President Joe Biden condemned the ruling in a statement, claiming that the opinion of the court contradicted “both common sense and the Constitution.” Biden cited the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas as reasons why increased gun control was necessary. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul insisted that SCOTUS should’ve determined its ruling by current affairs, not precedent or past constitutional arguments. Hochul pledged to act through their state legislature in the near future. 

Hochul also threatened to only allow muskets as a valid form of arms, despite the Constitution not specifying the type of arms that Americans may keep and bear. 

Shortly after his initial reaction to the SCOTUS ruling, Biden issued a follow-up statement addressing Congress’ progress on gun control legislation. If enacted, the federal government would enforce a swath of red flag laws. Critics of the increased gun control measure called it a “gun grab” and a direct affront to the Second Amendment. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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