Supreme Court overturns New York’s secret-carrying law to deal blows to gun reform advocates

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday overturned New York state’s unconstitutional limits on carrying concealed handguns in public, awarding a landmark victory to gun rights advocates in the United States. a country that is deeply divided over how to tackle gun violence.

The March 6 ruling, with conservative majority court and liberal dissident judges, found that the state’s law, enacted in 1913, violated the right to “keep and carry weapons” of a Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

According to an opinion released by Justice Clarence Thomas, the judges overturned the lower court’s ruling, issuing a challenge to the law by two gun owners and the New York branch of The National Rifle Association, a gun rights group with strong Republican influence.

The restriction in New York, the fourth most populous U.S. state, is unconstitutional because it “prevents law-abiding citizens with a common need for self-defense from exercising the right to keep and bear arms,” ​​Thomas said. .

New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision “outrageous” because of the “national reckoning on gun violence” currently underway in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, Texas.

“In response to this ruling, we are closely considering our options – including convening a special session of the legislature,” Mr Hochul said.

Senate soon to vote on gun safety bill

New York City mayor Eric Adams, who has made crime a priority, concurred with the governor.

“Simply put, this Supreme Court ruling will put New Yorkers at greater risk of gun violence,” said Adams, who spent a long time in policing before leaving. into electoral politics, said.

“We have prepared for this decision and will continue to do everything we can to work with our federal, state, and local partners to protect our city.”

The recent mass shootings this spring have excited US Senate lawmakers, who have moved closer to bipartisan gun reform for the first time in decades at the federal level. A vote in the chamber could take place as soon as on Thursday.

The 80-page Safer Bipartisan Communities Act would encourage states to keep guns out of the hands of those deemed dangerous and tighten background checks on gun buyers who will be convicted of domestic violence. or committed a substantial crime while a minor.

It does not include broader gun control measures advocated by Democrats, including US President Joe Biden, such as a ban on assault-style rifles or high-volume magazines.

Attorney General Merrick Garland last week visited the Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo, NY, where 10 Blacks were shot dead on May 14. The Buffalo shooting, as well as one at an elementary school in Texas, pushed Congress to consider gun safety reform. (Carolyn Kaster Thompson / The Associated Press)

Biden said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision.

“In light of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that go unnoticed across the nation, we must do more as a society,” Biden said. society – not less – to protect our fellow Americans.”

“Like Gu Tu [Antonin] Scalia recognizes, the Second Amendment is not absolute,” he continued, evoking the name of the Supreme Court jurist revered by conservatives.

Judges Steven Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotamayor disagreed with the court’s decision.

Breyer listed a number of recent mass shootings including in Buffalo in his lengthy dissenting post, but in concurrence, Justice Samuel Alito questioned the involvement. its.

“The New York law enacted in this case clearly did not stop that perpetrator,” Alito said.

New York Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican, hailed the decision as a correction to New York’s “shameful attempt to sever Second Amendment rights for New Yorkers.” .”

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, called the ruling “a watershed victory” stemming from a decades-long battle led by his organization.

The most important gun ruling in years from the highest court

The decision represents the court’s most significant gun-rights statement in more than a decade. In 2008, the court first recognized an individual’s right to keep a firearm at home in self-defense in a case from the District of Columbia, and in 2010 applied that right to the states.

The new ruling underscores how a conservative majority on the court agrees with a broad reading of Second Amendment rights.

VIEW | Senators welcome progress on gun legislation:

Gun control bill clears first hurdles in US Senate

Several Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the gun control bill in the US Senate, now expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House by the end of the week.

Under the “good cause” requirement of New York law, applicants for an unrestricted concealed carry permit must convince the state firearms licensing officer of a genuine need for self-defense, not must speculate. Officials may also issue limited permits for certain activities, such as hunting or target practice.

The ruling could lead to more people obtaining concealed handgun licenses in the state, breaking similar restrictions in other states and imposing state and local gun restrictions across the country. by asking judges to scrutinize them with a more skeptical eye than under the Constitution. .

Firearms safety groups and gun control activists are concerned that a sweeping ruling against New York could undermine gun measures, such as “red flag” laws targeting guns. People deemed dangerous by courts, expanded background checks on gun buyers, or restricted sales from being able to track “ghost guns” assembled from components purchased online.

They also fear that such a ruling could jeopardize gun bans in sensitive places like airports, courts, hospitals and schools.

Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, concurring, said states can still impose requirements on those seeking a gun license that include fingerprint checks, background checks, checks mental health and gun training classes.

Read the decision from the US Supreme Court:

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