U.S. Supreme Court rules that Americans are legally allowed to carry guns in public thumbnail

U.S. Supreme Court rules that Americans are legally allowed to carry guns in public

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued a rare decision involving constitutional gun rights and ruled that Americans have the right to carry arms outside of the home and in public — in a major victory for advocates of the Second Amendment.

The high court voted 6-3 in striking down a New York law that said gun owners must demonstrate a need to carry firearms outside the home to obtain a legal permit.

The court was split along ideological lines, with all six conservative justices voting against the New York law and the three progressive justices voting to uphold the gun-safety statute.

Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas said the New York law goes too far in restricting legal possession of firearms and said it violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Because the state of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the state’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,” Thomas wrote in the ruling.

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts in his opinion, which said that striking down the New York law doesn’t prevent states from enacting various gun-safety measures. Rather, it faulted the New York law for not being specific enough as to what’s acceptable and what is not.

Kavanaugh wrote that the law is “constitutionally problematic because it grants open-ended discretion to licensing officials and authorizes licenses only for those applicants who can show some special need apart from self-defense.”

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett also wrote concurring opinions, and Justice Stephen Breyer, who is retiring at the end of the current term, wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

“In 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms. Since the start of this year, there have been 277 reported mass shootings — an average of more than one per day,” Breyer wrote.

Activists rally in Los Angeles protest on June 11 after 19 children were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The high court’s three progressive justices cited the attack and other recent gun violence in their dissenting opinion. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

“Many states have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence … by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds. The court today severely burdens states’ efforts to do so.”

The case stems from a lawsuit filed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association against the state, which argued that the restriction made it almost impossible to get a legal carry permit and treats the Second Amendment as a privilege and not a right.

President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling.

“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo, [N.Y.], and Uvalde, [Texas], as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans,” he said.

“I urge states to continue to enact and enforce commonsense laws to make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence. As the late Justice [Antonin] Scalia recognized, the Second Amendment is not absolute.

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