Independent Institute Amicus Curiae Brief Cited in Landmark Second Amendment US Supreme Court Case : News Releases: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking


Stay Connected
Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

News Release
June 24, 2022

Independent Institute Amicus Curiae Brief Cited in Landmark Second Amendment US Supreme Court Case

Oakland, CA—The US Supreme Court cited an Independent Institute amicus curiae brief in its ruling protecting an expansive right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. The 6-3 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen struck down a New York state law that required residents to show a special need to acquire a license to carry a handgun.

The ruling, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, cited the Independent Institute’s brief which argues that gun-free zones must be narrowly confined, stating “the Second Amendment does not leave room for the Government to eviscerate this right through the unbridled declaration of public gun-free zones.”

The ruling is the most significant Second Amendment decision in more than a decade and establishes that the right to carry a handgun does not vanish when a person leaves their home.

“The decision doesn’t require New York or the other six states with ‘may-issue’ licensing schemes to rewrite their laws—they need only to consider their ‘special need’ requirements to be crossed out and to issue carry licenses to citizens with clean records as they otherwise would,” said Dr. Stephen P. Halbrook, Independent Institute Senior Fellow and Second Amendment historian and legal scholar.

Halbrook has successfully argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has written several books on the origins of the Second Amendment, including his timely and most recent The Right to Bear Arms: A Constitutional Right of the People or a Privilege of the Ruling Class?

His book Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms (reissued as Securing Civil Rights) is cited in the majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), and in the majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in the milestone case of McDonald vs City of Chicago in 2010, which also cited his book The Founders’ Second Amendment. In the Heller case, Halbrook also successfully represented a majority of members of Congress with an amici curiae brief against a handgun ban.

A pdf file of the Supreme Court decision can be downloaded here.

To interview Stephen P. Halbrook, contact Robert Ade, [email protected], or (510) 635-3690.


100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428

The Independent Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information, visit

  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless