A New York state law that placed restrictions on carrying a concealed firearm outside the home was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, a decision that is certain to further polarize the country.
The 6-to-3 decision, which divided along ideological lines, came as America struggled with recent school shootings that claimed the lives of 19 students and two instructors in Uvalde, Texas, among other cities.
Without a license, it is illegal to possess a firearm in New York, inside or outside the home.
If a person can demonstrate that “due reason exists,” they may be granted an unrestricted license to “have and carry” a concealed “pistol or revolver” outside of their residence.
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the licensing system used by the State of New York, which only grants public-carry licenses to those who can prove an unique necessity for self-defense, is unconstitutional.
Justice Stephen Breyer, a liberal, stated in dissent that the court’s decision “severely restricts States’ efforts” to reduce gun violence.
The main difference between the Court’s perspective and mine, according to Breyer, is that I think the Amendment enables States to take into account the grave issues that gun violence poses. I am concerned that the Court’s approach ignores these serious risks and denies States the ability to deal with them.
While the divided Senate is considering a gun safety bill introduced following the Uvalde school shooting amid public outcry over long-term political inertia, Democrats and Republicans responded differently to the Supreme Court decision.
The decision, according to U.S. President Joe Biden, “contravenes both common sense and the Constitution, and should greatly disturb us all,” and he is “very disappointed” by it.
The seasoned Democrat said in a statement that “we as a society must do more — not less — to safeguard our fellow Americans in the aftermath of the awful attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national news.” “I implore states to continue passing and upholding sensible legislation to protect their citizens and communities from gun violence.”
Texas Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz commended the conservative-majority Supreme Court for the decision, which was characterized as the broadest expansion of gun rights in a decade.
Cruz tweeted that “the Supreme Court today upheld our Second Amendment right to keep and bear weapons.” The victory in this case for the right to have a gun outside the home for self-defense serves as a constant reminder of our responsibility as citizens to preserve our constitutional rights from the left’s blatant attacks.
IMPACT ON GUN REGULATION
Legal experts have noted that the Supreme Court’s decision may have an impact on state and local governments’ capacity to enact a wide range of gun controls. All states allows open carry of concealed weapons, while some states also demand state-issued permits.
Keechant Sewell, commissioner of the New York City (NYC) Police Department, stated in a press conference that “the key thing to know today is that nothing changes,” making it clear that the ruling of the Supreme Court will not instantly impact the city’s policies.
She said, “If you carry a gun illegally in NYC, you will be arrested. A premise permission does not instantly translate to a carry permit.”
More than 20,800 people have died from gun violence in the United States this year, according to the most recent data from Gun Violence Archive, including 279 mass shootings, which are defined as occurrences where at least four people, not including the attacker, are killed or injured by gunfire.
Late on Thursday, the Senate passed a compromise gun safety bill that, among other things, will tighten up background checks for people purchasing firearms under the age of 21, allocate money for the administration of “red-flag” laws that let courts issue specific types of protection orders, and crack down on straw buyers who purchase weapons for people who are ineligible.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is led by American gun rights activist Wayne LaPierre, who hailed the Supreme Court decision as a victory for the NRA while criticizing the Senate gun bill.
The Senate is currently debating measures that might restrict the Second Amendment’s freedom, thus the decision is significant. No rule should be established that restricts this individual freedom, LaPierre said in a statement, and this ruling indisputably endorses the NRA’s viewpoint.
American politics and society are firmly rooted in the issue of guns.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, being essential to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed.” Regarding the amendment’s intended scope, such phrasing has sparked a great deal of discussion.
The founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization working to reduce gun violence in the United States, Shannon Watts, stated on Twitter that she believes the Supreme Court’s decision “is out of touch.”
The ruling, according to Watts, “is limited to the constitutionality of one component of New York’s legislation on the public carry of weapons, with direct repercussions for only a handful of other states.” The vast majority of concealed carry laws in the nation remain unchanged.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued three further opinions, but did not rule on the issue of abortion rights.