Law rules

Supreme Court Strikes Down NYC Gun Law, Says Americans Have Right to Carry Guns in Public

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major expansion of gun rights, the Supreme Court has declared that Americans have the right to carry guns in public for self-defense.

About a quarter of the US population lives in states expected to be affected by the ruling, which struck down a gun law in New York. The first major High Court decision on guns in more than a decade came over a 6-3 split with the court’s Tories in the majority and the Liberals dissenting.

Meanwhile, across the street from the Capitol, Congress has raced to pass its own gun legislation in the wake of mass shootings in Texas, New York and California. . The senators paved the way for his measure, modest in scope but still the most ambitious in decades.

Also on Thursday, underscoring the country’s deep divisions over the issue, the sister of a 9-year-old girl killed in the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, pleaded with Austin state lawmakers to pass legislation on firearms, which would run counter to the Republican-controlled easing of restrictions by the agency in recent years.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision, which he said “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should trouble us all deeply.”

He urged states to pass new laws and said, “I call on Americans across the country to raise their voices on gun safety. Lives are at stake.”

The court ruling struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a special need to carry a firearm in order to obtain a license to carry one in public. The justices said the requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun in self-defense outside his home.” This right is not a “second class right”, wrote Thomas. “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual can exercise only after demonstrating to government officials a special need.”

California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island all have similar laws to New York.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the decision comes at a particularly painful time, as New York still mourns the deaths of 10 people in a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket. “This decision is not only reckless. It is reprehensible. This is not what New Yorkers want,” she said.

But Tom King, president of the plaintiff New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said he was relieved.

“The legal, legal gun owner in New York State will no longer be persecuted by laws that have nothing to do with human safety and will do nothing to make people safer,” a he declared. “And maybe now we’ll start prosecuting the criminals and the perpetrators of these heinous acts.”

The court’s decision is somewhat out of step with public opinion. About half of voters in the 2020 presidential election said gun laws in the United States should be made tougher, according to AP VoteCast, a broad voter survey. A further third said laws should be kept as they are, while only around 1 in 10 said gun laws should be less stringent.

About 8 in 10 Democratic voters said gun laws should be made tougher, VoteCast showed. Among Republican voters, about half said the laws should be left as they are, while the other half were narrowly split between more and less stringent.

In a legal dissent joined by fellow Liberals on Thursday, Justice Stephen Breyer focused on the toll of gun violence. “Since the start of this year alone (2022), there have already been 277 reported mass shootings, an average of more than one per day,” Breyer wrote.

Proponents of the New York law had argued that overturning it would lead to more guns on the streets and higher rates of violent crime. Gun violence, which was already on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic, has increased again.

In most countries, gun owners have little difficulty legally carrying their guns in public. But that had been harder to do in New York and the handful of states with similar laws. New York law, which has been in place since 1913, states that to carry a concealed handgun in public, a person applying for a license must show a “good cause,” a specific need to carry the weapon.

The state issues unlimited licenses where a person can carry their gun anywhere and restricted licenses which allow a person to carry the gun but only for specific purposes such as hunting and target shooting or worms. and from his place of business.

The New York law challenge was brought by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, which describes itself as the nation’s oldest gun advocacy organization, and two men seeking to be able to carry guns without restriction at outside their homes.

The Supreme Court last handed down a major gun ruling in 2010. In that ruling and a 2008 ruling, the justices established a national right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. The question for the court this time was about carrying one out of the house. Thomas wrote of his opinion that, “Nothing in the text of the Second Amendment draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms.”

The court’s decision is somewhat out of step with public opinion. About half of voters in the 2020 presidential election said gun laws in the United States should be made tougher, according to AP VoteCast, a broad voter survey. A further third said laws should be kept as they are, while only around 1 in 10 said gun laws should be less stringent.

About 8 in 10 Democratic voters said gun laws should be made tougher, VoteCast showed. Among Republican voters, about half said the laws should be left as they are, while the other half were narrowly split between more and less stringent.

___

Associated Press reporters Mark Sherman, Hannah Fingerhut and Zeke Miller in Washington and Michael King in East Greenbush, New York, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.