Gun rights advocates applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling; constitutional law expert weighs in

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 7:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana has a concealed carry law already on the books but gun rights advocates still applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling which expands gun rights for Americans.

Daniel Zelenka is President of the Louisiana Shooting Association.

“I’m thrilled about it,” he said.

In a 6-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to possess it in public.

“Justice Thomas, in the case, stated we know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need and I think that is the point of the case and I believe that’s the most important point. New York’s law required you to show some type of special need,” said Zelenka.

Tulane constitutional law expert Stephen Griffin also reacted to the ruling.

“It is an important decision. It doesn’t wipe a lot of laws off the books but what it does is remind everyone, first, the Supreme Court is very serious about protecting Second Amendment rights and now it says to the lower courts you better evaluate all cases going forward according to our historical traditions. And that puts a limit, hard to assess how significant a limit but a limit on what legislatures can do,” said Griffin.

Six other states have similar laws.

The ruling came amid heightened debate over whether gun laws in the U.S. should be strengthened following back-to-back recent mass shootings.

“I don’t believe that this was a message sent with respect to Uvalde or Buffalo, this case has been a long time in the making, they argued this last October,” said Zelenka.

The Biden Administration wanted the New York law to remain intact.

In Louisiana, people are already permitted to carry concealed weapons, if they have a state permit.

Zelenka was asked if he thought the high court’s ruling would impact Louisiana.

“I don’t. Louisiana’s gun rights are fairly expansive. We don’t have a special need here. We have what’s known as a “Shall Issue” statute, so if you want a conceal carry permit and you are a law-abiding citizen with a clean background and you go to the class and pass the class and file your application, the state must give you a permit,” said Zelenka.

Griffin said just because the Supreme Court struck down the New York law does not mean it will get rid of all gun regulations.

“There are so many different types of gun regulations that it would be a mistake to jump to the conclusion that they’re all going to be struck down. The court was careful to say, there’s a lot of different regulations that are within our tradition that will be approved of, by the court. It’s just that the government has the burden of showing that,” Griffin stated.

This month, a bill that would have allowed school teachers and principals in Louisiana to carry guns on campus did not make it out of the legislature.

Zelenka believes it will be proposed again.

“I believe that you will see one or more of those bills next year and I believe they’ll go through the full hearing process, and we will find some sort of bill that allows teachers to carry,” he said.

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