The Supreme Court Just Expanded Gun Rights. Here’s What That Means

The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protects the right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside of the home, a decision that experts say will make it easier for millions of Americans to carry firearms in public.

In a 6-3 vote split along ideological lines, the high court on Thursday struck down a century-old New York gun-control law that required people to prove they have a special need for self protection if they want to carry a concealed handgun outside of their home. In his majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment by “preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs” from exercising their right to “keep and bear arms in public for self-defense” established by the Second Amendment. The court’s three liberal justices dissented.
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This is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on a gun-rights case since its major decisions in 2008 and 2010 stating that the Second Amendment protects a private citizen’s right to keep a firearm in the home for “traditionally lawful purposes,” including self-defense. On Thursday, the high court ruled that private citizens have the constitutional right to carry that firearm outside of their home, as well. In his opinion, Thomas wrote that the Second Amendment does not distinguish between the home and public areas in regards to the “right to keep and bear arms.”

The biggest Second Amendment decision in more than a decade is a significant win for gun-rights advocates and a blow to the gun control movement, which gained renewed steam this spring after a series of deadly mass shootings catapulted gun reform back into the center of national conversation. Congress is poised to advance a bipartisan gun safety bill, which includes incentives for states to enact red-flag laws that would allow authorities to temporarily confiscate firearms from people deemed to be a threat. (The court’s decision would not impact those policies.)

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The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, was brought by two men in New York—with the backing by the NRA-affiliated New York State Rifle & Pistol Association—after they were denied requests for permits to carry firearms outside their home because the licensing officer determined they hadn’t demonstrated they needed the weapons for self-defense. The plaintiffs argued that standard was had become unattainable and gave too much discretionary power to licensing officers, who are either local judges or law enforcement officers.

Along with New York, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have similar “may-issue” concealed-carry laws, which only grant permits to applicants who can prove they have a sufficient reason for wanting one. In April 2021, roughly 90 million Americans lived in states that have “may-issue” laws, according to Duke Law School professor Joseph Blocher.

Nearly all other states have more permissive “shall-issue” laws, which generally allow people to get a concealed-carry license as long as they don’t fall into a legally non-permitted category, such as having a felony conviction. …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

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