Photo: Jose Luis Magaña/AP
The U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for nearly all law-abiding Americans to carry concealed and loaded pistols in public after the conservative majority repealed a law in New York that imposed strict restrictions on outdoor firearms.
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The New York governor, a Democrat, said the ruling was “not only reckless, but reprehensible.” Referring to recent mass shootings in New York and Texas, a leading progressive group called the statement “shameful and outrageous.”
Joe Biden said: “This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution and would cause great concern to all of us.”
On the left, outrage is growing at the court’s right-wing march. Earlier this week, the court issued a ruling in which the… separation of church and state† It is expected that from Friday this will be the right to abortionguaranteed since 1973, and to reduce the federal government’s ability to reduce emissions to the climate crisis†
The New York law that was repealed Thursday required anyone who wanted to carry a gun in public to prove they had “a good reason” for doing so. The decision in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen makes the law an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
In his ruling, Judge Clarence Thomas wrote“Apart from a few late 1800s jurisdictions, U.S. governments have simply not universally banned the public carrying of commonly used personal defense firearms. Nor have they generally required law-abiding, responsible citizens to “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinct from that of the general community” to bear arms in public.
New York law, Thomas wrote, also violated the 14th Amendment, which allowed the right of second amendment to apply to the states.
Biden pointed to the longevity of New York’s gun laws and the Supreme Court’s acceptance of the need to regulate gun ownership.
The president said: “Since 1911, New York State has required individuals who wish to carry a concealed weapon in public to demonstrate the need for self-defense and obtain a permit. More than a century later, the United States Supreme Court has chosen to take down New York’s established authority to protect its citizens.”
Biden added: “If the late [conservative] Justice [Antonin] Scalia acknowledged, the Second Amendment is not absolute. For centuries, states have regulated who can buy or possess weapons, the types of weapons they can use, and the places where they can carry them. The courts have upheld these rules.
“I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are at stake.”
The ruling has profound implications for the safety and behavior of up to 83 million people in New York and seven other states plus Washington DC with similar laws for “good reasons”. They include densely populated states, such as California and New Jersey, which represent about three in four Americans.
Just weeks ago, an 18-year-old was carrying a legally purchased assault rifle shot and killed Ten people in a racist attack on a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York.
Ten days later, another 18-year-old broke into an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and… murdered 19 children and two adults before being shot dead by police.
Democratic and Republican senators have since agreed on a framework for weapons reform. On Thursday, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said the proposals did not put a finger on the second amendment and would make the country safer. But any gun legislation inevitably faces strong headwinds, with the potential to blow all the way to court. McConnell helped pack with conservatives.
In his dissenting opinion on the New York ruling, Stephen Breyer, a soon-to-be-retired liberal judge wrote: “By 2020, 45.222 Americans were killed by firearms. Since the beginning of this year there are 277 reported mass shootings – more than one per day on average.
“Weapon violence has now surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents. Many states have attempted to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that variously restrict who can buy, carry, or use firearms of different types.
“The court today places a heavy burden on the efforts of states to do this.”
Rahna Epting, executive director of the progressive group Continuelamented “an outrageous and outrageous decision”, adding: “The conservatively overcrowded Supreme Court, in concert with Republicans in Congress, ensures that our schools, our grocery stores and our churches remain targets of violence, not the shrines and safe havens.” places should be.”
The court has steadily undermined gun laws by recognizing the right to keep guns at home for self-defense in 2008 and extending that right two years later.
In the New York case, two men have sued the state. Under the “good cause” law, the men could only be granted unrestricted permission to carry concealed weapons in public if they could demonstrate a special need for self-protection. Lawyers argued that carrying a firearm outdoors was a “fundamental constitutional right.” It is not an extraordinary action that requires an extraordinary demonstration of need.”
Civil rights and gun security groups tried to influence the court. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued that lifting gun control in public places would harm First Amendment rights such as assembly, association, and speech. Gun control proponents warned that scrapping the law could damage relations between police and civilians, as anyone who comes into contact with law enforcement would be more likely to be legally armed.
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On Thursday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said: “The Supreme Court is putting us backwards in dealing with gun violence … This decision is not only reckless, it is reprehensible.” Hochul too said she was “willing to call the legislature back into session to address this”.
Letitia James, the New York Attorney General, said she would not be stopped “from standing up to the gun lobby and their repeated attempts to endanger New Yorkers”.
A leading representative of that lobby, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, joined the Republicans to celebrate “a turning point victory” and said: “The right to self-defense and defend your family and loved ones should not end at your home.”
But Keechant Sewell, the New York City Police Commissioner, warned gun owners: “If you illegally carry a gun in New York City, you will be arrested. Nothing changes today.”
Epting, of MoveOn, said: “It’s hard to imagine a Supreme Court having more contact with the people. Common sense policies to reduce gun violence are supported by nine out of ten Americans. This court… is now nothing more than the political arm of the most extreme elements of the Republican party.”
Referring to McConnell’s unprecedented denial of even a hearing with Barack Obama’s third candidate — Merrick Garland, now Attorney General — and the confirmation of three judges under Donald Trump, Epting said Republicans “stole seats and packed up this court to determine which voters have repeatedly rejected at the ballot box.
“It’s been a long time since we expanded, reformed and restored the balance in our justice system.”