The Supreme Court said on Thursday that Americans generally have the right to carry a handgun outside the home in self-defense, and that a New York law requiring a special need for such a permit is too restrictive.
“The Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect the right of the individual to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Thomas wrote, stating that New York City’s special requirement to carry a gun violates that right.
Dissenting, Judge Stephen G. Breyer wrote: “Many states have attempted to eliminate some of the dangers of gun violence … by passing laws that restrict in various ways who can buy, carry, or use firearms of various kinds. Today, the Court is seriously burdening the efforts of States to do so.”
New York State law, passed over a century ago, requires those who wish to carry a concealed weapon in self-defense to demonstrate a special need to do so. Its “good cause” law is similar to the rules in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.
The decision took on new significance following the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalda, Texas, which again called for stricter gun regulations.
The Senate pushed the bill this week after 20 senators — 10 from each party — signed a framework agreement that combines modest new gun restrictions with about $15 billion in new federal funding for mental health programs and school safety upgrades.
If passed, the bipartisan Safer Communities Act would be the most significant new gun restriction since the 1990s. But these are far from the broader gun control measures that President Biden and other Democrats have called for, such as a new ban on assault weapons or restrictions on high-capacity ammo magazines.
“Today’s decision goes against the grain of a bipartisan majority in Congress, which is on the cusp of passing a major gun safety bill, and is not in line with the overwhelming majority of Americans who support gun safety measures,” said John Feinblatt, Everytown president for Gun Safety. “Let’s be clear: The Supreme Court erred in this decision by choosing to put our communities in even greater danger due to the rise in gun violence across the country.”
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment gives a person the right to keep a gun at home for personal protection and not in connection with military service.
Judge Antonin Scalia’s decision DC vs. Heller adopted a law that severely restricted the possession of weapons, but answered only part of what it meant to “keep and carry weapons.”
But only now the court has taken up the issue of what it means to “carry” a weapon.
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The two men challenging the law, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, have licenses to carry handguns for hunting and target shooting. But New York authorities turned down their requests for “unrestricted” self-defense licenses because officials said they could not demonstrate a “special need for self-defense distinct from that of society as a whole.”
During the 2018 and 2019 biennium, at least 65 percent of applicants in New York were approved for an “unrestricted” license, according to a government review of documents submitted to the court.
Since the 2008 ruling, lower courts have largely sided with states that restrict the right in determining how the Second Amendment applies outside people’s homes. The judges rejected numerous requests from gun rights advocates to reconsider those rulings.
Scalia’s opinion made clear that the Second Amendment was not unlimited and identified several legal restrictions, including bans in “sensitive places” such as schools and government buildings. But recently four conservative members of the court — Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch, and Brett M. Kavanaugh expressed disappointment at their colleagues’ apparent reluctance to re-enter the gun debate.
During the November dispute, six conservative judges expressed varying degrees of support for two people challenging the New York law with support from an affiliate of the National Rifle Association.
Twenty-five states do not require a license to carry a firearm in public, while some others require permits but do not ask applicants to justify their need for weapons.
The fact New York State Associate Professor of Rifles and Pistols. With. Bruen.