The question the justices agreed to decide in Wednesday’s case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, No. 20-843, was “whether the state’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.”
But the issue of restricting guns in sensitive places got a lot of attention at Wednesday’s argument. Chief Justice Roberts asked Mr. Clement, for instance, whether states could say “you’re not allowed to carry on a university campus.”
He said, “I think the answer to your question is yes.”
Justice Kagan seemed to think that was an important concession. “You know, anybody can walk around the N.Y.U. campus,” she said, referring to New York University’s many buildings in and around Greenwich Village.
Mr. Clement responded, to laughter, that “N.Y.U. doesn’t have much of a campus.”
Justice Kagan disagreed, as did Justice Breyer. “To my mind,” he said, to more laughter, “I think NY.U. does have a campus.”
Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked about the masses of people who sometimes gather in Manhattan.
“Can’t we just say Times Square on New Year’s Eve is a sensitive place because now we’ve seen, you know, people are on top of each other?” she said. “We’ve had experience with violence, so we’re making a judgment, it’s a sensitive place.”
Ms. Underwood said that Times Square is, at least in the absence of a pandemic, always crowded. “When commerce is in full swing,” she said, “Times Square almost every night is shoulder-to-shoulder people.”
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