Judge orders New York to dole out nearly half a million in legal fees to NRA after Supreme Court victory

Second Amendment


FIRST ON FOX – A New York judge ordered the state to pay nearly half a million dollars in legal feels to the National Rifle Association (NRA) after the gun rights group won a major case at the Supreme Court.

In a case decided last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that a New York public carry licensing law was unconstitutional and that the ability to carry a pistol in public was a constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

The NRA was a party in that case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, and last week a New York judge ordered the state to pay $447,700.82 in legal fees. 

“The NRA regards the $447K award in the NYSRPA V. Bruen case as a pivotal victory, a symbol that justice is definitively on our side,” Michael Jean, NRA’s director of the Office of Litigation Counsel, told Fox News Digital in a statement.

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A Friends of NRA event from 2022. (NRA )

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“This triumph in Bruen has fortified the Second Amendment in an unprecedented manner, and we continue our unrelenting fight to uphold our rights and challenge those who endeavor to infringe upon them,” he added.

Jean noted, however, that the payout “only scratches the surface” and covers “merely a third” of the group’s legal expenses. Jean thanked the generosity of “devoted NRA members” that helped to cover the brunt of the legal fees for the case, noting that “New York refuses to fully compensate.”

Before the high court weighed in, the standard for carrying a weapon required an applicant to show “proper cause” for seeking a license, and allowed New York officials to exercise discretion in determining whether a person has shown a good enough reason for needing to carry a firearm. Stating that one wished to protect themselves or their property was not enough.

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NRA headquarters

A thin blue line flag, signaling support for law enforcement, is displayed above the sign for the National Rifle Association outside its headquarters in Virginia. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images))

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“In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the court’s opinion, referencing two previous gun cases. 

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US Supreme Court building on a sunny day

The Supreme Court, June 29, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution.”

Thomas noted that the state statute does not define what “proper cause” means, and that courts had ruled that the standard was met by people who showed a “special need for self-protection.”

In one of his last cases as a justice, Stephen Breyer wrote an impassioned dissenting opinion in which he referenced present-day fervor over gun violence, as well as recent events. Joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, Breyer cited statistics, including 45,222 Americans killed by firearms in the U.S. in 2020, the number of mass shootings that had already taken place in 2022, and how gun violence was the leading cause of death for children and adolescents.

“Many States have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds,” Breyer wrote. “The court today severely burdens states’ efforts to do so.”

Following the court’s decision New York legislators immediately passed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which prohibits carrying a gun in “sensitive areas,” such as stadiums, houses of worship, museums, parks and other public places; imposes revised record-keeping and new safety requirements on retailers; and mandates background checks on all ammunition purchases. 

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Signs read “Gun Free Zone” in Manhattan, New York. (Jennifer Golotko/Fox News Digital)

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Gun retailers immediately appealed to the Supreme Court in January to stop that law from going into effect while the litigation proceeds, but the high court rejected their bid.

“We are challenging the ability of the state of New York to target dealers in firearms in the lawful stream of commerce, to put them out of business, which is what the new laws will do,” Paloma Capanna, the lead attorney for the New York gun retailers, said. “So it really was unfortunate to see that we couldn’t get any emergency temporary injunction against those laws.” 

Fox News Digital’s Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report. 



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