Supreme Court repeals New York gun law and expands hidden carrying rights

Supreme Court Overturns New York Concealed Gun Ownership Act


Washington The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a New York law which imposed strict restrictions on the carrying of concealed firearms in public for self-defense, and found to be unconstitutional to require applicants seeking a concealed-carrying license to demonstrate a special need for self-defense.

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

Judge Clarence Thomas delivered the majority opinion before the ideologically divided court, writing that New York’s “demand for good reason” prevented law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights, and that the 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 Bill of Rights guarantees,'” Thomas wrote. “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may only exercise after demonstrating a special need to government officials. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular expression or the free exercise of religion. Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it’s not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public wearing for self-defense.”

Writing in contradiction to the liberal wing of the court, Judge Stephen Breyer noted the increase in gun violence in the US and the ubiquity of firearms, warning that states working on stricter firearms laws will be “heavily burdened” by the court’s decision. .

“In my view, when courts interpret the Second Amendment, it is constitutionally correct, and even often necessary, that they consider the grave dangers and consequences of gun violence that leads states to regulate firearms,” ​​Breyer wrote. “The Second Circuit has done this and has ruled that New York law does not violate the Second Amendment. I would affirm that position.”

The court’s decision follows a series of mass shootings from mid-May to early June that shocked 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 rioted at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, kill 10 people† Ten days later, 19 children and two teachers were massacred in a… shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Then, on June 1 four people were 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 keep firearms in the home for self-defense. The New York lawsuit was also the largest Second Amendment case to go to court since the 2008 decision, and a statement from 2010 that said the right to have a gun in the house applies to the states. Gun rights supporters were hopeful the 6-3 Conservative Supreme Court majority would recognize that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a firearm in public.

Shared by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Kavanuagh noted that the court’s decision does not prohibit states from imposing licensing requirements for gun-carrying, and leaves existing regimes in 43 states untouched. Instead, it only affects stricter licensing rules in effect in six states, including New York.

President Biden said in a statement that he is “deeply disappointed with the decision,” and again urged states to make changes to their laws to curb gun violence.

“This ruling is against both common sense and the Constitution and would be of great concern to all of us,” he said.

The New York licensing law at the heart of the dispute dates back to 1913 and requires residents seeking a license to carry a gun outdoors to demonstrate that they have “good reason” for obtaining one, which the state courts have said it has a “special need for self-protection.”

The two plaintiffs in the case, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, each applied for a carrying license, but the licensing officials refused their applications because they failed to find a good reason to carry pistols in public. The two were given “limited” permits 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 pistols in public and the requirement of good cause in 2018. A federal court dismissed their lawsuit and the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision and left the licensing system in place.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, criticized the Supreme Court decision, in which it said on Twitter that it was “outrageous that at a time of national reckoning for gun violence, the Supreme Court recklessly struck down a New York law restricting who can carry concealed weapons.”

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


New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the court’s ruling “will put New Yorkers at greater risk of gun violence.” He pledged to conduct a “comprehensive review” of approaches to identify places where firearms carry is prohibited, and to review the application process to ensure only those qualified can be licensed to carry.

“This decision may have opened an additional 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 ruling, saying on his Truth Social platform: “Elections have consequences. I promised to appoint judges and judges who would stand up for the Constitution. Today the Supreme Court upheld the Second Amendment Right of all Americans confirmed. .”

Half of the states generally require a state-issued license to carry a concealed firearm in public, and of these, about six other states permit — California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode. Island – Allows a person to carry a firearm in public only when they feel the need to. In those six states, government officials have the freedom to deny permits even if the applicant meets the legal criteria.

New York officials and the Biden administration, which urged the Supreme Court to uphold the law, warned judges during pleadings in November that invalidating the measure could have a knock-on effect, extending not only the restrictions on would endanger the states, but also others that carry the public in places where people gather, such as airports, arenas, churches and schools.

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

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

“Does the dissident think that laws like New York’s prevent or deter such atrocities? Will someone who wants to commit a mass shooting be stopped if they know it’s illegal to carry a gun outdoors? And how does the dissent explain the fact that one of the mass shootings at the top of the list took place in Buffalo?” He wrote. “The New York law at issue in this case clearly did not stop that perpetrator.”

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