WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Americans have a fundamental right to carry a handgun in public, a landmark decision with far-reaching implications for states and cities across the country, which grapple with a rise in gun violence. Is.
The 6-3 decision overturned New York’s more than a century-old law that required a person to prove they had a valid self-defense permit to obtain a permit to carry a handgun outside the home. is required, or has “reasonable reason”.
Several other states, including California, have similar laws – and the court’s decision would limit their ability to ban people from carrying guns in public.
Democratic President Joe Biden condemned the decision, saying it was “contrary to both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply disturb all of us.”
“We as a society must do more – not less – to protect our fellow Americans,” Biden said. “I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety.”
Despite rising calls for limits on firearms after two horrific mass shootings in May, the court sided with advocates who said the US Constitution guarantees the right to own and carry a gun.
The court’s decision in a major Second Amendment case in more than a decade is the first, when it ruled in 2008 that Americans have the right to keep guns at home for self-defense.
It was a surprise victory for the National Rifle Association lobby group, which brought the case together with two New York men who were denied gun permits.
“Today’s decision is a significant victory for good men and women across America and the result of a decades-long battle under the leadership of the NRA,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a statement.
“The right to self-defense and the right to protect your family and loved ones should not end at your home.”
New York Governor Cathy Hochul called it a “dark day”, while California leader Gavin Newsom called the decision “shameful”.
“It is outrageous that in a moment nationally on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those carrying concealed weapons,” Hochul said.
Newsom tweeted, “This is a dangerous court decision bent on advancing a radical ideological agenda and violating the rights of states to protect our citizens from bullets in our streets, schools and churches.”
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion and the nine-member court was joined by another five conservatives, three of whom were nominated by former Republican President Donald Trump.
Thomas said the New York law “prevents law-abiding citizens in need of general self-defense from exercising their Second Amendment right to own and possess weapons in public in self-defense.”
“We conclude that the state’s licensing system violates the Constitution,” Thomas said.
The ruling comes as the US Senate is considering a rare bipartisan bill that includes modest gun control measures.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said the ruling “makes it all the more important for Congress to take actionable steps to protect our children and communities from this country’s gun violence epidemic.”
“In a country of nearly 400 million firearms, this Supreme Court decision is an invitation for more gun deaths and chaos in America’s neighborhoods,” he said.
On May 14, an 18-year-old used an AR-15-type assault rifle to kill 10 African Americans at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
Less than two weeks later, 19 children and two teachers were shot dead at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, by another teen with the same type of high-powered, semi-automatic rifle.
In the decision, Justice Samuel Alito rejected the argument that guns cause great violence outside homes, including mass shootings.
“For example, why do dissidents think it is relevant to give details of mass shootings that have occurred in recent years?” He has written.
New York law states that in order to be allowed to carry a firearm outside the home, a gun owner must clearly demonstrate that it is clearly needed for self-defense.
Gun-rights advocates said it violated the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which says that “the right of the people to keep and keep arms shall not be violated.”
Three liberal Supreme Court judges disagreed with the decision.
“Many states have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence,” Justice Stephen Breuer said.
“The court today has placed a heavy burden on the efforts of the states to do so.”
More than half of US states already allow firearms to be carried without permission, with most of them only doing so in the past decade.
The New York state law dates back to 1913 and stood based on the understanding that individual states had the right to regulate gun use and ownership.
More than 200 million guns have hit the US market over the past two decades, led by assault rifles and personal handguns, leading to an increase in homicides, mass shootings and suicides.