The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a century-old New York law requiring handgun owners to show “just cause” to obtain a concealed-carry permit, dealing a blow to state-level efforts to combat gun proliferation and potentially expand the scope of Second Amendment protections.
The law requires handgun owners to present a “good cause,” including reasons for self-defense, rather than simply carrying a concealed weapon for property protection or other reasons.
In the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc vs. Bruenthe court was asked to consider whether the Second Amendment allowed the government to ban gun owners from carrying handguns outside their homes for self-defense – a challenge that could upend precedents on the concealed carry restrictions and rules on how and where Americans can carry firearms across the United States.
The court’s conservative majority ruled 6-3 in favor of the organization in an opinion written by Judge Clarence Thomas.
A decision in the case follows several deadly mass killings, including the racist murders of 10 black people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, which have reignited debates in state legislatures and in Congress and the White House over the gun control and the repeated failures to deal with the waves of mass shootings and gun violence in the United States.
Oral arguments heard by attorneys for the gun rights group and two men whose applications for concealed carry licenses were denied, arguing that the Second Amendment protects a right to carry a firearm for the self-defense that extends beyond the home.
California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar “just cause” requirements.
In his dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Stephen Breyer addressed the epidemic of gun violence in the country and offered a long list of mass shootings in recent years.
“Since the start of this year alone…there have already been 277 reported mass shootings – an average of more than one a day,” he wrote.
He highlighted the prevalence of firearms in both domestic disputes, noting a study that “found that a woman is five times more likely to be killed by an abusive partner if that partner has access to a firearm” , and how “the consequences of gun violence are borne disproportionately by communities of color and black communities.
“Many states have attempted to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who can purchase, carry, or use firearms of various types,” he said. he wrote. “The court today weighs heavily on states’ efforts to do so.”
He argued that it is both “constitutionally appropriate” and “necessary” for courts to consider the “serious dangers and consequences of gun violence” that compel states to regulate guns.
Judge Breyer condemned the decision to strike down the New York law based solely on the arguments of the plaintiffs in the case “without first permitting the development of an evidentiary record and without regard to the compelling interests of the state to prevent armed violence”.
Judge Samuel Alito criticized Judge Breyer’s dissenting opinion, saying New York law “didn’t stop this author” in Buffalo. He also condemned the dissenting opinion for including statistics on the use of firearms in suicides and domestic disputes, saying they are “not relevant” to the issue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement that it is “outrageous that at a time of national wake-up call on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who may carry concealed weapons”.
She said her office may consider calling a special legislative session to expand gun control legislation in the state.
“I will continue to do everything in my power to protect New Yorkers from gun violence,” she said.
New York Congressman Ritchie Torres said the decision will “aggravate the gun violence crisis” in New York and elsewhere.
“Voiding the requirement of just cause, as [the Supreme Court] did, means granting the average person the right to carry a gun in public, even in a city as densely populated as [as New York City],” he said.
“Life as we know it in New York could be drastically reshaped – for the worse,” he said.
City officials prepare offices for Supreme Court decision; Mayor Eric Adams, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and city and state officials are reportedly considering efforts to strengthen gun control policies that can withstand legal challenges.
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, hailed the court’s decision as a “landmark victory” for gun owners and said it validated the battles of gun rights activists with “unconstitutional regimes” in cities and states with “revolving door criminal justice systems, no cash bail and increased harassment from law enforcement.
The country’s high court has issued its decision as it nears the end of its term with a list of high-profile opinions expected in the coming days, including a ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that could eliminate legal access to abortion in many states by reversing the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe versus Wade.
This is a developing story
The Independent Gt