In the shadow of calls for restrictions on gun ownership in the U.S. amid recent massacres, the Supreme Court today overturned a New York State law that restricted the carrying of handguns outside the home and ruled that it violates the Constitution.
The law stipulated that those seeking to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun while outside their home present a “proper cause” that justifies it. In a lawsuit filed by Brandon Koch and Robert Nash against New York authorities after their license application was denied, they claimed the state “prevents law-abiding citizens from obtaining a license.”
On the other hand, representatives of the State of New York claimed that the two received a permit to carry weapons for shooting and hunting training away from inhabited places and that Koch only held a permit to carry weapons on the way to and from work. According to them, the two “did not demonstrate a non-speculative need to carry a gun in almost any public place.”
The six conservative judges in the court used their majority to rule today that New York State law is unconstitutional because it does not allow law-abiding citizens to implement the Second Amendment and carry weapons outside their homes for self-defense. This is the most significant ruling of the Supreme Court in the field of weapons rights for more than a decade.
The ruling, written by veteran Justice Clarence Thomas, states that “the application of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to show government officials a particular special need.” “The Second Amendment to the Constitution which grants the right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not different,” the ruling said, noting that the Second Amendment to the Constitution does not make a distinction between the right to bear arms indoors and carrying weapons outdoors.
Similar laws also exist in California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island, but the judges made it clear that the ruling “does not prevent states from imposing licensing requirements for carrying a gun for self-defense.” “The decision does not affect existing licensing regimes in 43 countries,” the ruling said.
On the other hand, the three liberal judges opposed the repeal of the law. Judge Stephen Breyer, who is retiring after 28 years in the judiciary, mentioned a series of shooting attacks, including the recent massacre of the racist shooting attack in which ten blacks were murdered in a Buffalo supermarket and the murder of 19 children and two teachers at a Yuvaldi elementary school in Texas.
“The question before us deals with the extent to which the Second Amendment prevents democratically elected representatives from addressing the serious issue of gun violence,” Brier wrote in the minority opinion. “And yet, the court preferred to answer this question without discussing the nature of the problem or its severity.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul made it clear she would respond to the ruling, which she called “absolutely shocking.” She noted that she is considering convening a special session of the State House of Representatives and that she has already formulated a draft proposal for new legislation that she will try to promote.