SCOTUS Overturns New York Gun Law

SCOTUS Overturns New York Gun Law

Likely, as expected, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the New York law restricting the gun ownership outside of the home was not in accordance with the Constitution.

New York is one of many states that require citizens to demonstrate “proper reason” before they can have a gun outside their home. In the ruling of 6-3, Justice Clarence Thomas said that the law in New York violates lawful requirements of the Second Amendment.

This was the first instance that it was decided by the court that the right of the constitution to keep weapons applies to firearms within public spaces. It’s also the first significant Second Amendment case the court took since 2008 the time justices decided 5-4 on District of Columbia v. Heller and held that citizens are entitled to have guns at residence in self-defense.

In the past the Supreme Court has rejected several appeals on Second Amendment cases while lower courts generally have upheld gun-control law. Recently, however judges have been divided over guns being carried on public property and this has set the stage for the Supreme Court to consider in the New York Case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.

Broad Second Amendment Interpretation

Thomas said his opinion that Second Amendment’s rights to keep arms is a broad right and should not be restricted by the decisions of officials about what and how people can be allowed to carry firearms. Thomas did mention that guns can be prohibited in some “sensitive locations,” without identifying what they may be, and the person who could be responsible for their designation.

“We are aware of none other constitutional right individuals can use only by proving to officers of the government the need for it,” he said.

In the dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the high levels of shootings within the U.S. — 300 shootings in January alone — – demonstrate the need for government regulation of guns.

“Many states have attempted to tackle the risks of gun violence through laws restricting different ways those who are able to buy, carry or carry firearms of various types,” Breyer wrote. “The Court today severely burdens States trying in this regard.”

The justices were joined by two other justices of the liberal side, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

The Implications of The Ruling

The Supreme Court’s decision to broaden guns rights is in stark opposition to the recent decision of Senate members of the U. S. Senate to introduce new gun restrictions following mass shootings that occurred in Buffalo, New York, as well as Uvalde, Texas.

The decision that was made in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association represents an unprecedented extension of the rights to gun ownershippossibly more so in comparison to Heller. Before, judges considered guns cases by considering their relevance to the precedent in the Second Amendment and determining whether the state can provide a valid reason to restrict guns.

This new rule appears to throw out the second section. States today will face an even harder time convincing that gun laws benefit the public’s interest in a significant way.

Also, it means that other states that have laws similar to the one in New York — California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey among them -are now required to make new laws that govern individuals who would like to carry firearms in public.

Although the decision is an expansive expansion of rights to gun ownership, Thomas’ remarks about the ban on firearms in “sensitive locations” indicates that the justices consider some sort of limitations.

If you’re searching for the future Second Amendment battleground, this could be the one. The good news is that New York City isn’t wasting the time in preparing. After the justices handed down their decision on June 23rd the Mayor Eric Adams issued a statement that the city is prepping for the anticipated Supreme Court decision and is prepared to move to implement the decision. “Those initiatives,” he said, “will consist of a thorough analysis of our method of delineating’sensitive places’ in which guns are not allowed.”

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