The Supreme Court on Thursday said Americans have the right to bear arms in public, a major extension of gun rights.
The judges’ 6-3 decision follows a series of recent mass shootings and should ultimately allow more people to legally carry guns on the streets of the nation’s biggest cities – including New York, Los Angeles and Boston. – and elsewhere. About a quarter of the US population lives in states expected to be affected by the ruling, the High Court’s first major gun ruling in more than a decade.
The decision comes as Congress is actively working on gun legislation following recent mass shootings in Texas, New York and California.
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Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun in self-defense outside his home.”
In their decision, the judges struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a special need to carry a firearm in order to obtain a license to carry one in public. The justices said the requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have similar laws. The Biden administration had urged judges to uphold New York law.
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In a dissent joined by fellow Liberals, Justice Stephen Breyer focused on the toll of gun violence. “Since the start of this year alone (2022), there have already been 277 reported mass shootings – an average of more than one per day,” Breyer wrote.
Proponents of the New York law had argued that overturning it would ultimately lead to more guns on the streets and higher rates of violent crime. The decision comes at a time when gun violence already on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic has escalated again.
In most countries, gun owners have little difficulty legally carrying their guns in public. But that had been harder to do in New York and the handful of states with similar laws. New York law, which has been in place since 1913, states that to carry a concealed handgun in public, a person applying for a license must show a “good cause,” a specific need to carry the weapon.
The state issues unlimited licenses where a person can carry their gun anywhere and restricted licenses which allow a person to carry the gun but only for specific purposes such as hunting and target shooting or worms. and from his place of business.
The Supreme Court last handed down a major gun ruling in 2010. In that ruling and a 2008 ruling, the justices established a national right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. The question for the court this time was about carrying one out of the house.
© 2022 The Associated Press