Supreme Court strikes down New York gun law, expands concealed carry rights

Supreme Court strikes down New York concealed gun law


Washington The Federal Supreme Court overturned this Thursday new york law which imposed strict restrictions on the carrying of concealed firearms in public for self-defense, deeming it unconstitutional to require that applicants seeking a concealed carrying license demonstrate a special need for self-defense.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that upheld New York’s 108-year-old law that limits who can obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon in public. Proponents of the measure warned that a higher court decision invalidating it could threaten gun restrictions in several states and lead to more firearms on city streets.

Judge Clarence Thomas issued the majority opinion to the ideologically divided court, writing that New York’s “adequate cause requirement” prevented law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment right, and its licensing regime is unconstitutional.

“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different set of rules than the other guarantees in the Bill of Rights,'” Thomas wrote. “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual can exercise only after demonstrating to government officials some special need. That’s not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. That’s not how the Sixth Amendment works. Amendment works. Amendment works when it comes to the defendant’s right to confront witnesses against him. And that’s not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public transportation for self-defense.”

Writing in dissent for the liberal wing of the court, Judge Stephen Breyer noted the rise in gun violence in the US and the ubiquity of firearms, and warned that states working to pass stricter firearm laws will be “severely” burdened by the court’s decision.

“In my opinion, when courts interpret the Second Amendment, it is constitutionally appropriate, indeed often necessary, for them to consider the serious dangers and consequences of gun violence that drive states to regulate firearms,” Breyer wrote. “The Second Circuit did so and held that New York law does not violate the Second Amendment. I would uphold that decision.”

The court’s decision comes on the heels of a series of mass shootings from mid-May to early June that shook the country and acted as a catalyst for Congress to again seek consensus on a legislative plan to curb gun violence. On May 14, a racist gunman shot at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, killing 10 people. Ten days later, 19 children and two teachers were massacred in a shooting in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. So on June 1st, four people were shot dead in a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The decision marks the first expansion of gun rights since 2008, when the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep firearms in the home for self-defense. The New York court battle was also the biggest Second Amendment case before the court since its 2008 ruling, and a 2010 decision who said the right to have a gun in the home applies to states. Gun rights advocates were hopeful the 6-3 conservative majority of the Supreme Court would recognize that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a firearm in public.

In a concurring opinion by Justice Brett Kavanaugh and accompanied by Justice John Roberts, Kavanuagh noted that the court’s ruling does not prohibit states from imposing licensing requirements for firearms and leaves existing regimes in 43 states untouched. Instead, it only affects stricter licensing rules in place in six states, including New York.

President Biden said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed by the decision” and again called on states to enact changes to their laws to curb gun violence.

“This decision contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and must deeply upset us all,” he said.

The New York permit law at the center of the dispute dates back to 1913 and requires residents seeking a permit to carry a gun outside the home to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain one, which state courts have said is a “proper cause” to obtain one. special need for self-protection.”

The two plaintiffs in the case, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, applied for licenses to carry, but licensing officials denied their requests because they failed to establish adequate cause for carrying weapons in public. The two were granted “restricted” permits to carry firearms for target practice, hunting and outdoor activities.

Along with the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Nash and Koch challenged the constitutionality of New York’s ban on carrying firearms in public and the 2018 just cause requirement. A federal district court dismissed the lawsuit and the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision, leaving the licensing regime in effect.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, criticized the Supreme Court ruling, saying on Twitter that it was “outrageous that, at a time of national assessment of gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law limiting those who can carry concealed weapons.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul Responds to Supreme Court Overturning Gun Law


New York Mayor Eric Adams said the court’s decision “will put New Yorkers at greater risk of gun violence.” He promised to carry out a “comprehensive review” of the approach to define where the carrying of firearms is prohibited and to review the application process to ensure that only those qualified can obtain a license to carry firearms.

“This decision may have opened up yet another river feeding the sea of ​​gun violence, but we will do everything we can to dam it,” he said.

Former President Trump took credit for the court’s decision, saying on his Truth Social platform, “Elections have consequences. Americans.”

Half of the states generally require a state-issued permit to carry a concealed firearm in public, and of those, about six other states — California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island — allow a person to carry a firearm. fire in public only if they feel the need to do so. In those half a dozen states, government officials have discretion to deny licenses even if the applicant meets statutory criteria.

New York officials and the Biden administration, which urged the Supreme Court to uphold the law, warned justices during oral arguments in November that invalidating the measure could have a ripple effect, undermining not only state restrictions but also others. that limit transport in places where people gather, such as airports, arenas, churches and schools.

Some of the judges seemed concerned about how a sweeping ruling could impact restrictions imposed on places where large numbers of people gather. Roberts, for example, questioned whether a state or city could ban firearms in football stadiums or places where alcohol is served, while Judge Amy Coney Barrett asked about banning guns in “sensitive places” like Times Square. on New Year’s Eve.

In a concurring opinion, Judge Samuel Alito criticized Breyer’s dissent for reporting recent mass shootings.

“Do dissenters think laws like New York’s prevent or deter such atrocities? Will a person bent on carrying out a mass shooting be stopped if he knows it’s illegal to carry a gun outside his home? And how does dissent explain that? that one of the mass shootings near the top of your list took place in Buffalo?” He wrote. “The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop this perpetrator.”

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