The highly anticipated oral argument in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen took place before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 3, 2021. While predicting the outcome of a Supreme Court decision is hazardous, what was said in this hearing didnt please gun-control advocates.
Paul Clement, former solicitor general of the United States, argued on behalf of the challengers. Barbara Underwood, solicitor general of New York, defended the law in question, as did Brian Fletcher, the principal deputy solicitor general of the United States. Other than the lawyers, the justices and select media, the courtroom was empty due to COVID restrictions, but anyone could listen to the very lively argument on the Courts website. The following offers a blow-by-blow account of the arguments before the Court.
Everyone seemed to assume that the people have a right to bear arms outside the home, but it depended on whose definition of the people was used. To the challengers, the populace at large is included, while New York would confine the term to atypical people approved by the government. (Gone are the days, disposed into the dust bin of legal history by District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), when the people was argued to mean members of a militia on active duty.)