WASHINGTON — A Republican congresswoman from New York is calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn one of the state’s long-standing gun control laws, leading scores of her Republican colleagues in submitting a friend of the court brief ahead of this fall’s expected oral arguments in the potentially pivotal case.
Rep. Claudia Tenney formally submitted the 15 page amicus brief this week. It is co-signed by more than 170 fellow House Republicans, and urges the nation’s top bench to reverse a lower court’s ruling that upheld a New York concealed carry law.
Under the current law, gun owners have to prove “proper cause” in order to conceal carry outside their homes.
“If the plaintiffs prevail for this case, it’ll be the biggest win for Second Amendment rights in more than a decade,” Tenney said during a Tuesday press event on Capitol Hill. “The stakes couldn’t be higher.”
In their brief, the Republicans say New York’s rule “transforms a fundamental right guaranteed to the people into a special privilege to be enjoyed by only an elite few deemed worthy by a government official exercising unbridled discretion.”
Long Island's U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who is running for governor, also signed the brief — potentially making this an issue in next year’s election.
Democrats overwhelmingly support the existing rules.
“It is our obligation, it is our duty to be advocating here today for this cause,” Zeldin said at the Tuesday event.
The case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett, is set to be heard this upcoming term.
If the court, with its newly minted 6-3 conservative majority, knocks down the law, it could have ripple effects in other states with similar requirements, like California.
Advocates for gun regulations are watching closely. Sarah Dumrese, a teacher from Rochester, volunteers with the group Moms Demand Action.
“If the Supreme Court were to rule and take away some of those strong gun laws…that would be extremely detrimental to the work we're doing to prevent gun violence,” she said.
In her own brief to the court submitted earlier this year, New York Attorney General Letitia James defended the state’s “proper cause” requirement.
“This flexible standard, which numerous New York residents have successfully satisfied, generally requires a showing that the applicant has a nonspeculative need for self-defense,” she wrote.
Every New York congressional Republican signed the briefing, with one notable exception: Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, of Staten Island.
“I like to be able to read all the cases before I sign onto an amicus brief, and I hadn’t had the opportunity to do that,” she told Spectrum News, arguing it was the “responsible thing” to not sign without proper due diligence.