We The People

What the Supreme Court’s Opinion in NYSRPA v. Bruen Means for the Second Amendment

August 10, 2022


On Thursday, June 23, the Supreme Court released its opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. In a 6-3 opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court held that New York’s law requiring anyone seeking a concealed carry license to demonstrate they had “proper cause” for the license—or a special need for self-defense—violated the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. The decision expands the Second Amendment right to bear arms to include outside the home. To help us understand the opinion and what it means for gun rights, gun control measures and future reforms and legislation surrounding guns—including assault weapons bans—are Adam Winkler of UCLA, author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, and Clark Neily of the Cato Institute, who served as co-counsel in the landmark Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller. Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates.



Please subscribe to We the People and Live at the National Constitution Center on Apple PodcastsStitcheror your favorite podcast app.

This episode was produced by Melody Rowell and engineered by Dave Stotz. Research was provided by Sam Desai, Vishan Chaudhary, Lana Ulrich, and Colin Thibault.



Clark Neily ​is senior vice president for legal studies at the Cato Institute. He served as co-counsel in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), in which the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a gun. Neily is the author of Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government. He is also the team leader for Team Libertarian on the NCC’s Constitution Drafting project.

Adam Winkler is the Connell Professor of Law at UCLA Law School. He is the author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America (2011) and We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights (2018). He is one of two Second Amendment scholars to contribute to the NCC’s Interactive Constitution.

Jeffrey Rosen is the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public about the U.S. Constitution. Rosen is also professor of law at The George Washington University Law School and a contributing editor of The Atlantic.


Additional Resources



This transcript may not be in its final form, accuracy may vary, and it may be updated or revised in the future.



Your generous support enables the National Constitution Center to thrive as America’s leading platform for nonpartisan constitutional education and civil dialogue.  


Stay Connected and Learn More

Questions or comments about the show? Email us at [email protected].

Continue today’s conversation on Facebook and Twitter using @ConstitutionCtr.

Sign up to receive Constitution Weekly, our email roundup of constitutional news and debate, at bit.ly/constitutionweekly.


Explore Further

The Constitutionality of Firearms Bans for Domestic Violence Abusers

Recapping arguments in the biggest Second Amendment case of the year

Town Hall Video
The Constitutional Role of the State Solicitor General

A bipartisan group of state solicitor generals discuss the crucial role of the office.

Blog Post
Is a bump stock a “machinegun?” The U.S. Supreme Court takes up the question

After the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip—the worst in American history—many Americans learned the phrase “bump…

More from the National Constitution Center
Constitution 101

Explore our new 15-unit core curriculum with educational videos, primary texts, and more.

Media Library

Search and browse videos, podcasts, and blog posts on constitutional topics.

Founders’ Library

Discover primary texts and historical documents that span American history and have shaped the American constitutional tradition.

News & Debate