The Supreme Court strikes down New York’s gun laws and extends covert carrying rights

Written by Javed Iqbal

Washington The Supreme Court struck down one on Thursday New York law which imposed strict restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in public for self-defense, and found that the requirement that applicants seeking a concealed carrying license demonstrate a special need for self-defense is unconstitutional.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that upheld New York’s 108-year-old law restricting who can obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun in public. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

Judge Clarence Thomas delivered the majority agreement before the ideologically divided court, writing that New York’s “demand for the right cause” prevented law-abiding citizens from exercising their right to the Second Amendment, and its licensing system is unconstitutional.

“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-rate right, subject to a completely different set of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,'” Thomas wrote. “We know of no other constitutional right that a person can exercise only after demonstrating to government officials a special need. That is not how the first amendment works when it comes to unpopular utterances or free religious practice. It is not like that, the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a 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. “

Judge Stephen Breyer wrote in dissent for the liberal wing of the court, noting the rise in gun violence in the United States and ubiquitous firearms, warning that states working to pass stricter firearms laws would be “severely” burdened by the court’s decision.

“In my opinion, when the courts interpret the Second Amendment, it is constitutionally correct, indeed often necessary, for them to consider the serious dangers and consequences of gun violence that cause states to regulate firearms,” ​​Breyer wrote. “The Second Circuit has done so and has ruled that New York law does not violate the Second Amendment. I will confirm that position.”

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

The ruling marks the first extension of gun rights since 2008, when the Supreme Court recognized that the second amendment protects the right to store firearms in the home for self-defense. The New York litigation was also the second major change case for the court since its 2008 decision, and a judgment from 2010 who said the right to have a weapon in the home applies to the states. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online The Supreme Court’s Conservative majority of 6-3 would recognize that the second amendment protects the right to carry a firearm in public.

In a joint statement by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and endorsing Chief Justice John Roberts, Kavanuagh noted that the court’s ruling does not prohibit states from imposing licensing requirements to carry small arms, leaving existing regimes in 43 states untouched. Instead, it only affects stricter licensing rules in six states, including New York.

President Biden said in a statement that he is “deeply disappointed with the decision,” and again called on states to pass amendments to their laws to curb gun violence.

“This verdict is contrary to both common sense and the Constitution, and it should concern us all deeply,” he said.

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

The two plaintiffs in the case, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, each applied for carrying licenses, but the licensing officers rejected their applications because they failed to establish an appropriate reason to carry small arms in public. The two were given “limited” licenses to carry firearms for shooting, hunting and outdoor activities.

Together with the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Nash and Koch challenged the constitutionality of New York’s ban on carrying small arms in public and the demand for the proper cause in 2018. A federal district court dismissed their case, and the 2nd U.S. District Court in the United States Appeals upheld the decision, leaving the licensing scheme in place.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, criticized The Supreme Court ruling, which said on Twitter that it was “outrageous that in a moment of national bill on gun violence, the Supreme Court has ruthlessly struck down a New York law restricting those who can carry concealed weapons.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is reacting to the Supreme Court cracking down on gun laws


New York Mayor Eric Adams said the court’s ruling would “put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence.” He promised to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the approach to defining places where the carrying of firearms is prohibited, and to review the application process to ensure that only those who are qualified can obtain a license to carry.

“This decision may have opened up an extra river that feeds the sea of ​​gun violence, but we will do everything we can to stem it,” he said.

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

Officials in New York and the Biden administration, which called on the Supreme Court to uphold the law, warned in oral arguments in November judges that annulment of the measure could have a domino effect, endangering not only state restrictions but also others who restricts the public. carry in places where people gather, such as airports, arenas, churches and schools.

Some of the judges seemed concerned about how a broad verdict could affect 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 referee Amy Coney Barrett asked for a ban on guns in “sensitive places,” such as Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

In a joint statement, Judge Samuel Alito criticized Breyer’s dissent for recounting recent mass shootings.

“Does the dissent mean that laws like New York’s prevent or deter such atrocities? Will a person who is willing to carry out a mass shooting be stopped if he knows it’s illegal to carry a handgun outside the home? And how does that explain? the dissent the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of the list took place in Buffalo? ” he wrote. “The New York law at issue in this case apparently did not stop that perpetrator.”

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Javed Iqbal

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