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Black Lawyers Group Says New York Concealed Carry Restrictions Are Racist


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A coalition of black lawyers says New York state’s concealed carry restrictions are racist, and they are backing a historic challenge to the restrictions the Supreme Court will hear on Nov. 3.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association is pressing the High Court to strike down the rules, which require residents prove "a special need for self-protection" in order to obtain a concealed carry permit. Black Attorneys of Legal Aid filed an amicus brief on behalf of 10 New York public defender offices and 3 legal assistance groups complementing that effort, arguing the rule has racist origins and continuing discriminatory effects


"We represent hundreds of indigent people whom New York criminally charges for exercising their right to keep and bear arms," the brief reads. "Virtually all our clients … are Black or Hispanic. And that is no accident. New York enacted its firearm licensing requirements to criminalize gun ownership by racial and ethnic minorities. That remains the effect of its enforcement by police and prosecutors today."

The brief highlights uneven minority support for the progressive public safety consensus, as with the ambivalence many black leaders show the police abolition movement. Gun rights in particular elide easy racial narratives. While survey data show minorities consider gun violence an urgent problem, industry data indicate legal gun ownership is soaring among blacks.

The gun rights plaintiffs say New York’s "proper cause" requirement makes it virtually impossible for all but a favored few—former police officers or celebrities for example—to obtain a permit. They say that concealed carry is a functional nullity in New York state.

About 10 states have similar laws, all of which could be called into question depending on the scope of the Court’s decision. The justices have never recognized a right to carry for self-defense outside the home, meaning the New York case could be of enormous consequence.:snip:

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