The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday declared New York state’s limits on the carrying of concealed handguns in public unconstitutional, delivering a historic victory for gun rights advocates in a deeply divided country. on how to combat gun violence.
The 6-3 ruling, with the court’s conservative justices in the majority and liberal justices dissenting, found that state law, enacted in 1913, violated a person’s right to “hold and wear weapons” under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In an opinion written by Judge Clarence Thomas, judges overturned a lower court ruling dismissing a challenge to the law by two gun owners and the New York branch of the influential National Rifle Association. gun rights advocates closely aligned with Republicans.
The restriction in New York, the fourth most populous U.S. state, is unconstitutional because it “prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary needs of self-defense from exercising their right to own and bear arms,” Thomas said.
It is outrageous that at a time of national awareness of gun violence, the Supreme Court recklessly struck down a New York law that limits who can carry concealed weapons.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision “outrageous” given the “national gun violence reckoning” now unfolding after mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas.
“In response to this decision, we are closely considering our options, including calling a special session of the legislature,” Hochul said.
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First-year New York mayor Eric Adams, who has made crime a key priority, agreed with the governor.
“Put simply, this Supreme Court decision will put New Yorkers at increased risk of gun violence,” said Adams, who had a long career in law enforcement before entering electoral politics.
“We are preparing for this decision and will continue to do everything we can to work with our federal, state and local partners to protect our city.”
The recent mass shootings this spring have galvanized lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, who are closer to bipartisan gun reform for the first time in decades at the federal level. A vote in the hemicycle could take place as early as Thursday.
The 80-page bipartisan Safer Communities Act would encourage states to keep guns away from those deemed dangerous and tighten background checks on potential gun buyers convicted of domestic violence or crimes serious as minors.
It does not include the more sweeping gun control measures favored by Democrats, including US President Joe Biden, such as banning assault rifles or high-capacity magazines.
Biden said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision.
“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as daily acts of gun violence that don’t make national headlines, we must do more as a society – not less – to protect our fellow Americans,” he said. Biden said.
“Like the late judge [Antonin] Scalia recognized, the Second Amendment is not absolute,” he continued, referring to the name of the Supreme Court jurist revered by conservatives.
Judges Steven Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotamayor disagreed with the court’s decision.
Breyer listed a number of recent mass shootings, including in Buffalo, in his lengthy dissent, but in an agreement Judge Samuel Alito questioned its relevance.
“The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop this perpetrator,” Alito said.
New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican, hailed the decision as a corrective to “New York’s shameful attempt to shred New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights.”
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, called the decision a “decisive victory” resulting from a decades-long fight by his organization.
Supreme Court’s Most Important Gun Ruling in Years
The ruling represents the court’s most significant statement on gun rights in more than a decade. In 2008, the court first recognized an individual’s right to keep firearms in their home for self-defense in a District of Columbia case, and in 2010 it applied that right to the states.
The new ruling underscored how strongly the court’s conservative majority favors a broad reading of Second Amendment rights.
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Under New York law’s “just cause” requirement, applicants seeking an unrestricted concealed carry permit must convince a state firearms licensing officer of a need real, rather than speculative, self-defense. Officials could also grant licenses limited to certain activities, such as hunting or target shooting.
The decision could lead to many more people obtaining licenses to carry concealed handguns in the state, undermine similar restrictions in other states, and jeopardize other types of state and local restrictions on firearms. fire nationwide by forcing judges to scrutinize them with a more skeptical eye under the Constitution. .
“”ghosts” assembled from components purchased online.
They also feared that such a move would undermine gun bans in sensitive places such as airports, courthouses, hospitals and schools.
Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, said states can still impose requirements on people applying for licenses to carry firearms, including fingerprints, background checks, health checks mental health and firearms training courses.
Read the US Supreme Court decision: