Washington DC: In a major expansion of gun rights, the Supreme Court said Thursday that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. The decision struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to carry one in public. The justices said that requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
In most of the country, gun owners have little difficulty legally carrying their weapons in public. But that had been harder to do in New York. California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island all have similar laws. The Biden administration had urged the justices to uphold New York’s law.
The decision, the high court’s first major gun decision in more than a decade, was 6-3 with the court’s conservatives in the majority and liberals in dissent. The ruling comes as Congress is working toward the passage of gun legislation following mass shootings in Texas, New York, and California. On Thursday, senators were expected to clear the way for that measure, modest in scope but still the most far-reaching in decades.
President Joe Biden said in a statement he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court ruling, which he said, “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution and should deeply trouble us all.”
He urged states to pass new laws and said, “I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the ruling comes at a particularly painful time when New York is still mourning the deaths of 10 people in a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo. “This decision isn’t just reckless. It’s reprehensible. It’s not what New Yorkers want,” she said. But Tom King, president of the plaintiff New York State Rifle and Pistol Association said he was relieved.