US gun policy: Supreme Court rules Americans have right to bear guns in public
The 6-3 ruling strikes down a more than century-old New York law that required a person to prove they had a legitimate need for self-defense to receive a permit to carry a concealed handgun outdoors of the House.
Five other states, including California, and the nation’s capital Washington, have similar laws and the ruling will limit their ability to prevent people from carrying guns in public.
Democratic President Joe Biden denounced the decision, saying it “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should trouble us all deeply.”
“We must do more as a society – not less – to protect our fellow Americans,” Biden said. “I call on Americans across the country to raise their voices on gun safety.”
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Despite growing calls for gun restrictions after two horrific mass shootings in May, the court sided with plaintiffs who said the US Constitution guarantees the right to own and carry firearms.
The ruling is the court’s first in a major Second Amendment case since 2008, when it ruled that Americans had the right to keep a gun in their homes for self-defense.
It was a resounding victory for the National Rifle Association lobby group, which brought the case with two New York men who had been denied gun licenses.
“Today’s decision is a decisive victory for good men and women across America and is the result of a decades-long fight by the NRA,” said the NRA’s executive vice president. , Wayne LaPierre, in a press release.
“The right to self-defense and defense of your family and loved ones should not end at your home.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called it a “dark day” and pledged to enact gun control legislation.
“It is outrageous that at a time of national awareness of gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits who can carry concealed weapons,” Hochul said.
California Governor Gavin Newsom called the decision “shameful”.
“This is a dangerous decision by a court determined to advance a radical ideological agenda and violate states’ right to protect our citizens from gunfire on our streets, schools, and churches,” he tweeted. Newsom.
Judge Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion and was joined by the court’s five other conservatives, three of whom were appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump.
Thomas said New York law prevents “law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”
“We conclude that the state licensing regime violates the Constitution,” Thomas said.
New York prohibits the open carry of handguns and rifles and the court’s decision does not affect that since it focused narrowly on the state’s requirements for a concealed carry license.
Just hours after the court’s decision, the Senate moved in another direction, passing a rare bipartisan bill that includes modest gun control measures.
“The gun safety bill we pass tonight can be described with three adjectives: bipartisan, common sense, life-saving,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
This breakthrough is the work of a group of cross-party senators who worked out the details and worked out the differences for weeks.
Lawmakers had been scrambling to wrap up negotiations quickly enough to capitalize on the momentum generated by the fatal shooting of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, upstate New York, both last month.
In both cases, the gunmen were teenagers and were using AR-15 type assault weapons.
The New York state law that the Supreme Court struck down dated back to 1913 and was based on the idea that every state had the right to regulate the use and ownership of firearms.
He said that to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun outside the home, an applicant must clearly demonstrate “lawful cause” – that it is explicitly necessary for self-defense.
Gun rights advocates said it violates the Second Amendment, which states “the right of persons to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The three liberal Supreme Court justices disagreed with the decision.
“Many states have tried to deal with some of the dangers of gun violence,” Judge Stephen Breyer said. “The Court today weighs heavily on states’ efforts to achieve this.”
Half of the 50 US states allow the unlicensed carry of concealed firearms in public places, while the other 25 allow it in one form or another.
Over the past two decades, more than 200 million firearms have hit the U.S. market, led by assault rifles and personal handguns, fueling a rise in murders, mass shootings and suicides .