Supreme Court Overturns New York’s Hidden Carry Act In One Blow To Gun Reform Proponents

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday overturned New York State’s unconstitutional restrictions on carrying concealed pistols in public, winning a historic victory for gun rights advocates in a country deeply divided over how to tackle gun violence. .

The 6-3 ruling, with the court’s conservative judges in the majority and liberal judges disagreeing, found that the state law, enacted in 1913, covered a person’s right to “keep and bear arms” under violated the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

In an opinion written by Judge Clarence Thomas, the judges overturned a lower court ruling over a challenge to the law by two gun owners and the New York branch of the National Rifle Association, an influential gun rights group closely associated with Republicans. destroy.

The restriction in New York, the fourth most populous state in the US, is unconstitutional because it “prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to own and carry weapons,” Thomas said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision “outrageous” given the “national reckoning of gun violence” currently underway after mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas.

“In response to this ruling, we are closely reviewing our options, including convening a special session of the legislature,” Hochul said.

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New York City freshman mayor Eric Adams, who has made crime a top priority, agreed with the governor.

“Put simply, this Supreme Court ruling puts New Yorkers at even more risk of gun violence,” said Adams, who had a long career in the police force before entering electoral politics.

“We have prepared for this decision and will continue to do everything possible to work with our federal, state and local partners to protect our city.”

The recent mass shootings this spring have spurred US Senate lawmakers, who are moving closer at the federal level to a two-pronged gun reform for the first time in decades. A vote in the room would take place as soon as possible later Thursday.

The 80-page Bipartisan Safer Communities Act would encourage states to keep guns out of the hands of those deemed dangerous and tighten background checks for potential gun buyers convicted of domestic violence or serious crimes as minors.

It no longer includes sweeping gun control measures favored by Democrats, including US President Joe Biden, such as bans on assault rifles or high-capacity magazines

Attorney General Merrick Garland visited the Tops Friendly Market supermarket in Buffalo, NY last week, where 10 black people were shot and killed on May 14. security reforms. (Carolyn Kaster Thompson/The Associated Press)

Biden said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision.

“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that fail to make national headlines, we as a society need to do more—not less—to protect our fellow Americans,” Biden said.

“As the late Justice [Antonin] Scalia recognized that the Second Amendment is not absolute,” he continued, evoking the name of the Supreme Court lawyer revered by conservatives.

Judges Steven Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotamayor disagreed with the court’s decision.

Breyer listed a number of recent mass shootings, including in Buffalo, in his protracted dissent, but in concurrence, Judge Samuel Alito questioned their relevance.

“The New York law at issue in this case clearly did not stop that perpetrator,” Alito said.

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican, praised the decision as a correction to “New York’s shameful attempt to shred New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights.”

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, called the ruling “a turning point victory” that resulted from a decades-long struggle led by his organization.

Most important weapon decision in years of the highest court

The ruling is the court’s most significant decision on gun rights in more than a decade. The court first recognized an individual’s right to keep weapons at home for self-defense in a District of Columbia case in 2008, and applied that right to the states in 2010.

The new ruling underlined how sympathetic the conservative majority in court is for a comprehensive reading of the rights of the Second Amendment.

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Under the New York law’s “good reason” requirement, applicants seeking an unrestricted concealed carry license must convince a state firearms licensee of an actual, rather than speculative, need for self-defense. Officials may also grant licenses limited to certain activities, such as hunting or target practice.

The ruling could lead to many more people securing concealed pistol-carrying licenses in the state, undermining similar restrictions in other states, and jeopardizing other types of state and local firearms restrictions across the country by requiring judges to hand them over. a more skeptical eye to examine according to the constitution.

Firearms safety groups and gun control activists feared that a sweeping ruling against New York could undermine gun control measures, such as “red flag” laws targeting the firearms of people deemed dangerous by the courts, extensive criminal background checks for gun buyers or restrictions on gun control. the sale of untraceable “ghost” pistols composed of parts purchased online.

They also feared that such a ruling could jeopardize the ban on weapons in sensitive places such as airports, courthouses, hospitals and schools.

Conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh said in a unanimous opinion that states can still impose requirements on people seeking licenses to carry firearms, including fingerprints, background checks, mental health checks and firearms training.

Read the US Supreme Court ruling:

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