The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a major gun rights case that could expand Americans’ ability to legally carry concealed firearms.
The announcement by the court comes as justices nominated by Republican presidents have established a 6-3 majority on the bench with the confirmation of Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett last October.
The court previously declined to review this case and other gun cases last June, when Barrett’s seat was held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the high-profile left-leaning justice who died last fall.
Now, the justices will hear a challenge to a lower-court ruling that upheld New York’s gun permit law. The appeal seeks to make it easier for handgun owners in the state to carry their weapons in public.
The court will hear arguments on the question of whether “the State’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment,” according to an orders list released Monday.
The White House and Democratic lawmakers have made new efforts to enact gun reform policies in recent weeks amid a spate of mass shootings in Atlanta, Boulder, Colo., Indianapolis and several other cities across the United States.
But gun reform efforts have been complicated by a packed legislative agenda that includes President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal, as well as voting rights and police reform measures.
At the same time, a commission established by Biden earlier this month is exploring potential reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary.
Progressive critics have complained the panel is unlikely to result in substantive change while calling on 82-year-old Democrat-appointed Justice Stephen Breyer to retire so Biden can name his replacement.