- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Statement on SCOTUS Decision to Strike Down New York's Concealed-Carry Gun Licensing Law
BOSTON — AG Healey today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down New York State’s law that regulates when individuals can obtain a license to carry firearms in public.
Centuries of law and tradition have recognized that the U.S. Constitution allows states to enact policies regulating the carrying of firearms in public places that are tailored to local public safety concerns. Today’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen flouts that law and tradition by holding that New York could not constitutionally require citizens to demonstrate a special need before they could receive a license to carry firearms in public for self-defense.
“In a country flooded with firearms, today’s reckless and anti-democratic decision poses a grave danger to Americans as they go about their daily lives in public spaces like supermarkets, hospitals, and playgrounds. Gun violence is a public health epidemic, and I remain committed to doing everything I can to keep our residents and our communities safe. Massachusetts has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country because we know that strong gun laws save lives. I stand by our commonsense gun laws and will continue to vigorously defend and enforce them.”
In September 2021, AG Healey joined 19 attorneys general in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm that the Second Amendment does not prohibit states and local governments from regulating the public carry of firearms in their jurisdictions, as they have done for hundreds of years.
The brief argued that throughout the history of this country, public carry regulations have varied from region to region. That tradition goes back more than 700 hundred years in England and pre-dates the founding of the United States. Regulations today and centuries ago “varied substantially between and within the States—the result of accountable policymakers enacting regulatory schemes tailored to local needs and conditions.”
Under Massachusetts law, individuals are required to have a license to carry a firearm in order to carry a firearm in public. Massachusetts law prohibits some applicants from receiving a license based on criminal history and other factors. For applicants not categorically prohibited from obtaining a license, Massachusetts police chiefs have the authority to issue firearm licenses based on the suitability of the applicant to carry a firearm. Police chiefs also have discretion to set conditions on firearms licenses, including restrictions around the licensee’s ability to carry a firearm outside of the home.