The National Rifle Association (NRA) is celebrating a major victory after a New York judge ordered the state to pay nearly half a million dollars in legal fees to the gun rights group.
The victory came last summer when the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen and ruled that a New York public carry licensing law was unconstitutional and that the ability to carry a pistol in public was a constitutional right, guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
“The NRA regards the $447K award in the NYSRPA V. Bruen case as a pivotal victory, a symbol that justice is definitively on our side,” Michael Jean, NRA’s director of the Office of Litigation Counsel, said in a statement.
The Supreme Court, in their opinion, stated that the standard for carrying a weapon required an applicant to show “proper cause” for seeking a license and allowed New York officials to exercise discretion in determining whether a person had shown a good enough reason for needing to carry a firearm. Stating that one wished to protect themselves or their property was not enough.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the court’s opinion, “In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”
Justice Stephen Breyer also weighed in with a dissenting opinion, citing various statistics about gun violence in the U.S. Breyer wrote, “Many States have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds.”
The Supreme Court decision applied only to this specific case, but New York reacted quickly, passing the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which imposed various safety requirements on retailers and mandated background checks on all ammunition purchases.
Gun retailers then appealed to the Supreme Court to stop this law from going into effect while litigation proceeds, but the high court rejected their bid.
The NRA believes this victory is a sign that justice is on their side and that the court’s ruling was a step in the right direction. According to Jean, the payment of legal fees is only a fraction of what the group spent on the case and appreciated the support of the NRA’s members who helped cover most of the expenses.