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FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2018 photo, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits for a group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. Justice Thomas participated at a “fireside” chat in Salt Lake City hosted by former Sen. Orrin Hatch’s foundation, Friday, March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The Supreme Court has tossed a New York gun law that required residents to demonstrate “proper-cause” to carry, potentially upending the way permits are issued in a number of states — including Massachusetts.

“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms,” Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the court’s 6-3 decision.

The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, stems from two men challenging the gun licensing laws in that state. It is the first Second Amendment matter considered by the court in a decade.

That case could have a direct impact in Massachusetts, which issues firearm’s permits in a manner similar to New York, on a “may issue” basis.

Jim Wallace, executive director of the Massachusetts-based Gun Owners Action League, hailed Thursday’s court decision as historic.

“We’re putting out an alert to our members recognizing the historic importance of this but also to give us some time to figure out what our next step is,” Wallace told the Herald.

Wallace said now that the high court has ruled, his group will be working to see if the licensing laws in this state will need to be overturned by the Legislature or the courts, but seemed sure they will be overturned. Laws in Massachusetts were cited in the court’s decision.

“This is a very exciting day,” Wallace said.

Not everyone was so pleased. The gun reform group Everytown for Gun Safety decried the court’s decision as out of touch with the American public.

“Today’s ruling is out of step with the bipartisan majority in Congress that is on the verge of passing significant gun safety legislation, and out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans who support gun safety measures,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, said in a release. “Let’s be clear: the Supreme Court got this decision wrong.”

Both of Massachusetts’ U.S. Senators reacted by blasting the current court as needlessly political.

“Countless American lives are endangered by this decision, including in Massachusetts,” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren posted to Facebook.

Attorney General Maura Healey, the only Democrat actively seeking the state’s highest office, said the court’s decision is dangerous.

“Massachusetts has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country because we know that strong gun laws save lives. I stand by our commonsense gun laws and will continue to vigorously defend and enforce them,” Healey said.

The court’s decision does not immediately change laws in the state, but a group of gun reform groups — Everytown, Brady, Giffords, and March For Our Lives — responded to the court’s decision Thursday during a group call, where they were clear about how long it will take laws in Massachusetts and elsewhere to be challenged by gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association.

“It basically depends whether the NRA’s lawyers skipped lunch today or not,” Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel at Brady said. “They could file lawsuits this evening.”

Also decided Thursday was Vega v. Tekoh, a case dealing with statements made to police before a suspect is informed of their right to counsel. There the court ruled police may use statements made to them in advance of a Miranda rights advisement against a suspect in a criminal case.

“Today, the far-right Court has gone out of its way to expand the Second Amendment and undermine public safety, while shrinking the Fifth Amendment and taking away Miranda rights. We cannot allow this overtly political Court to stand in the way of our safety. Expand the Court,” U.S. Sen. Ed Markey posted.

The court’s final scheduled decision day for this session is Friday, when a decision on Roe v. Wade may be issued.

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