NBC News Recently Reported: “Supreme Court allows the carrying of firearms in public in major victory for gun rights groups”
On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a significant ruling on the meaning of the Second Amendment, stating that the Constitution guarantees the right to carry a gun outside the home. This 6-3 decision is the court’s second important ruling on the right to “keep and bear arms” following its landmark decision in 2008, which recognized an individual’s right to possess firearms for self-defense within their homes.
The recent decision takes this recognition further, extending the Second Amendment beyond the confines of one’s property. This ruling could have far-reaching implications for state and local governments’ ability to enforce a broad range of firearms regulations. The decision was made while Congress was advancing the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in almost 30 years.
The ruling came in response to a New York law requiring a special need to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public, as the state only allows residents to carry handguns concealed. The law further stipulated that permits could only be granted to those who demonstrated a specific need beyond the general desire for self-protection. Gun owners sued the state, arguing that this requirement made it almost impossible for ordinary citizens to obtain a license, thus turning the Second Amendment into a limited privilege.
The court agreed with the plaintiffs and invalidated the heightened requirement but also allowed states to impose certain restrictions on carrying firearms.
“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,’” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion. “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”
In the ruling’s most far-reaching language, Thomas said concern for public safety isn’t enough to justify new gun controls.
“The government must affirmatively prove that its firearm regulation is part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms,” he wrote.
The ruling has set a high bar for further gun restrictions, according to gun law experts. Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated in a concurring opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, that the ruling does not prevent states from imposing licensing requirements for carrying handguns, such as fingerprinting, background checks, and mental health record checks, for self-defense.
The New York law was problematic because it granted licensing officials open-ended discretion and only authorized licenses for those demonstrating some special need beyond self-defense, effectively denying citizens the right to protect themselves, Kavanaugh wrote.
In a dissent joined by liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, Justice Stephen Breyer noted recent mass shootings in Texas and New York, arguing that considering gun violence is often necessary for the court to decide Second Amendment issues.
“The dangers posed by firearms can take many forms,” Breyer wrote. “Newspapers report mass shootings occurring at an entertainment district in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (3 dead and 11 injured); an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas (21 dead); a supermarket in Buffalo, New York (10 dead and 3 injured); a series of spas in Atlanta, Georgia (8 dead); a busy street in an entertainment district of Dayton, Ohio (9 dead and 17 injured); a nightclub in Orlando, Florida (50 dead and 53 injured); a church in Charleston, South Carolina (9 dead); a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado (12 dead and 50 injured); an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut (26 dead); and many, many more.”
“And mass shootings are just one part of the problem,” he added. “Easy access to firearms can also make many other aspects of American life more dangerous. Consider, for example, the effect of guns on road rage.”
“New York’s Legislature considered the empirical evidence about gun violence and adopted a reasonable licensing law to regulate the concealed carriage of handguns in order to keep the people of New York safe,” he concluded.
All states allow carrying concealed guns in public, although many require state-issued permits. Thursday’s decision casts doubt on laws similar to New York’s in several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, as well as the District of Columbia, which provide local officials with more discretion to deny requests for permits.
In a statement, President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling, adding that the decision “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all.”
The president said he was committed to doing everything in his power to reduce gun violence and called upon states to enact “commonsense laws” to make communities safer.
All states recognize the fundamental right to bear arms for self-defense, and while some require permits, Thursday’s decision calls into question the constitutionality of similar laws in New York and several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, as well as the District of Columbia. These states’ laws provide local officials with excessive discretion to deny law-abiding citizens their right to carry firearms.
In response to the ruling, supporters of the Second Amendment applauded the decision as a victory for individual rights and personal safety. They recognize that an armed citizenry is a strong deterrent to violent crime and that the right to carry a firearm is essential to the protection of one’s life, liberty, and property.
President Joe Biden’s statement expresses his disappointment with the ruling, but it ignores the fact that gun control measures often fail to reduce crime and instead restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens. Rather than infringing on our constitutional rights, we need to focus on enforcing existing laws and promoting responsible gun ownership. The Second Amendment protects our individual right to keep and bear arms, and we must defend it at all costs.
“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans,” he said.
New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul, a known opponent of the Second Amendment, wasted no time in condemning the recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down the state’s restrictive concealed carry law. Her initial tweet, which questioned the decision and vilified gun ownership, is typical of the anti-gun rhetoric commonly used by politicians on the left.
In response to the ruling, Governor Hochul has promised to explore all options available to her, including calling a special session of the legislature. But, rather than focusing on punishing law-abiding citizens, she should be looking for ways to support and promote responsible gun ownership.
Governor Hochul’s attempt to tie the Supreme Court ruling to the issue of gun violence is disingenuous. Studies have shown that concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding citizens in our society and that the mere presence of an armed individual can often deter violent crime.
Furthermore, Hochul’s call for Congress to strengthen federal gun laws by raising the age to buy a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21 is misguided. Such laws would do little to reduce gun violence and only serve to infringe on the rights of responsible young adults who are legally entitled to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Instead of pushing for more restrictions, we need to recognize that the right to bear arms is a fundamental freedom that must be protected. The Second Amendment ensures that individuals have the means to defend themselves, their families, and their communities from harm. It’s time to embrace this right and work towards promoting responsible gun ownership for all Americans.
While New York State officials like Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Eric Adams express concern about the recent Supreme Court ruling on concealed carry laws, it’s important to remember that the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
Rather than restricting law-abiding citizens from exercising their rights, officials should be working to protect those rights and promote responsible gun ownership. The Supreme Court’s decision simply affirms that the government cannot arbitrarily restrict an individual’s ability to protect themselves.
Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell’s warnings about more guns on the streets are unfounded. Concealed carry permit holders are some of the most responsible and law-abiding members of society. By allowing more citizens to carry concealed firearms, we can create a safer environment for all.
The Supreme Court’s decision sends a message that the government must respect the individual right to bear arms, even in densely populated areas like New York City. It’s time for officials to embrace this ruling and work towards promoting responsible gun ownership, rather than relying on restrictive laws that do little to protect citizens.