Supreme Court ruling set to allow more Americans to carry guns away from home

23 June 2022, 18:04

Supreme Court Abortion
Supreme Court Abortion. Picture: PA

About a quarter of the US population live in states expected to be affected by the ruling on New York firearms law.

The US Supreme Court has struck down a New York firearms law in a major ruling on gun rights.

The justices’ 6-3 decision is expected to allow more people to legally carry guns on the streets of the nation’s largest cities — including New York, Los Angeles and Boston — and elsewhere.

About a quarter of the US population live in states expected to be affected by the ruling, the high court’s first major gun decision in more than a decade.

The ruling comes as Congress is working on gun legislation following recent mass shootings in Texas, New York and California.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defence outside the home”.

Supreme Court Elections
Members of the Supreme Court were split 6-3 (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP)

In their decision, the justices struck down a New York state law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a licence 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 likely to be challenged as a result of the ruling.

President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by the court’s decision.

In a statement, the president said the ruling “contradicts both common sense and the constitution, and should deeply trouble us all”.

He added that after mass shootings across the US, the country should be doing more, not less, to rein in firearm availability.

He urged states to “enact and enforce common-sense laws to make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence”.

“I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line,” he added.

In the Senate, a bipartisan gun violence Bill was on the brink of passage on Thursday as lawmakers voted to halt a Republican filibuster against the measure.

Biden Gas Tax Congress
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

After years of procedural delays that derailed Democratic efforts to curb firearms, Democrats and some Republicans decided that congressional inaction was untenable following last month’s horrific rampages in New York and Texas.

It took nearly a month of closed-door talks but a group of senators from both parties emerged with an 80-page compromise.

The measure would toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states implement “red flag” laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged dangerous.

It would also fund local programmes for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

Backers of New York’s law argued that striking it down 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 spiked again.

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 and the handful of states with similar laws.

New York’s law, which has been in place since 1913, says that to carry a concealed handgun in public, a person applying for a licence has to show “proper cause” – a specific need to carry the weapon.

The state issues unrestricted licences where a person can carry their gun anywhere and restricted licences that allow a person to carry the weapon but just for specific purposes such as hunting and target shooting or to and from their place of business.

The Supreme Court last issued a major gun decision in 2010.

In that decision and a ruling from 2008 the justices established a nationwide right to keep a gun at home for self-defence. The question for the court this time was about carrying one outside the home.

The court has previously indicated there is no problem with restrictions on carrying guns in “sensitive places” including government buildings and schools. It has said the same about restricting felons and the mentally ill from carrying guns.

The challenge to the New York law was brought by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, which describes itself as the nation’s oldest firearms advocacy organisation, and two men seeking an unrestricted ability to carry guns outside their homes.

The court’s decision is somewhat out of step with public opinion.

About half of voters in the 2020 presidential election said gun laws in the US should be made more strict, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of the electorate.

An additional third said laws should be kept as they are while only about one in 10 said gun laws should be less strict.

About 8 in 10 Democratic voters said gun laws should be made more strict, VoteCast showed. Among Republican voters, roughly half said laws should be kept as they are while the remaining half closely divided between more and less strict.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Oscar Pistorius has met with the father of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius meets victim Reeva Steenkamp's father in a bid for parole

North Korea has blamed its Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons coming from South Korea.

North Korea blames Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons from South

Exclusive
Boris Johnson said Putin does not have to give up power for there to be peace in Ukraine

Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders for their lack of "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson topless.

Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.

'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris

Salah Abdeslam is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that killed 130 people in the 2015 Paris attacks

Islamic State member found guilty of mass murder for 2015 Paris terror attacks

Vatican Pope Pelosi

Pro-choice Nancy Pelosi receives communion at Vatican despite home city ban

Workers clear debris at the Kremenchuk shopping centre damaged in the Russian rocket attack

Search ongoing for 20 missing after Russian strike on Ukraine shopping centre

People attend a community vigil for the dozens of people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio

‘Difficult process’ identifying Texas lorry trailer death victims – authorities

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

US abortion ruling ‘a setback’ that will cost lives, says WHO chief

Dutch farmers protesting against government plans gather for a demonstration at Stroe

Dutch PM condemns farmers’ protests at minister’s home

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in by committee chairman Bennie Thompson

Trump dismissed January 6 threats and wanted to join crowd, says former aide