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    Second Amendment: Supreme Court ruling changes legal terrain for guns

    The Supreme Court ruling focused on a New York gun law, but Justice Thomas also set a standard that upends the way other gun laws will be judged.

    Supreme Court's Second Amendment decision demands courts look to history, tradition

    Supreme Court's Second Amendment decision demands courts look to history, tradition The court ruled 6-3 that New York's permit requirement violated the Constitution. But the decision will also change the way lower courts decide challenges to other gun regulations.

    John Fritze USA TODAY

    The ruling requires courts to assess gun rules relative to the nation's historical treatment of guns.

    Experts say the new standard will prompt challenges to other gun regulations, such as red flag laws.

    The decision landed as Congress readies a major guns package in response to recent mass shootings.

    WASHINGTON – On the one hand, the Supreme Court's Second Amendment ruling on Thursday was limited: It struck down a requirement adopted in a half dozen Democratic-led states that curbed who may obtain a license to carry a handgun in public.

    But under the hood of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas' 63-page majority opinion is a significant shift in the way federal courts will review gun laws – a change experts say will prompt challenges to other restrictions, including policies Congress is considering as part of its bipartisan gun safety package.

    Source : www.usatoday.com

    Supreme Court expands gun rights, with nation divided

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major expansion of gun rights after a series of mass shootings, the Supreme Court said Thursday that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, a ruling likely to lead to more people legally armed.

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    Supreme Court expands gun rights, with nation divided

    By JESSICA GRESKO June 23, 2022

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major expansion of gun rights after a series of mass shootings, the Supreme Court said Thursday that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, a ruling likely to lead to more people legally armed. The decision came out as Congress and states debate gun-control legislation.

    About one-quarter of the U.S. population lives in states expected to be affected by the ruling, which struck down a New York gun law. The high court’s first major gun decision in more than a decade split the court 6-3, with the court’s conservatives in the majority and liberals in dissent.

    Across the street from the court, lawmakers at the Capitol sped toward passage of gun legislation prompted by recent massacres in Texas,New York and California. Senators cleared the way for the measure, modest in scope but still the most far-reaching in decades.

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    Also Thursday, underscoring the nation’s deep divisions over the issue, the sister of a 9-year-old girl killed in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, pleaded with state lawmakers to pass gun legislation. The Republican-controlled legislature has stripped away gun restrictions over the past decade.

    President Joe Biden said in a statement he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court ruling. It “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” he said.

    He urged states to pass new laws. “I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line,” he said.

    The decision struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to carry a gun in a concealed way in public. The justices said that requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

    Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” That right is not a “second-class right,” Thomas wrote. “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”

    California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have laws similar to New York’s. Those laws are expected to be quickly challenged.

    Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., said the ruling came at a particularly painful time, with New York mourning the deaths of 10 people in a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo. “This decision isn’t just reckless. It’s reprehensible. It’s not what New Yorkers want,” she said.

    Gun control groups called the decision a significant setback. Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice and an expert on the Second Amendment, wrote on Twitter that the decision could be the “biggest expansion of gun rights” by the Supreme Court in U.S. history.

    Republican lawmakers were among those cheering the decision. Tom King, president of the plaintiff New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said he was relieved.

    “The lawful and legal gun owner of New York State is no longer going to be persecuted by laws that have nothing to do with the safety of the people and will do nothing to make the people safer,” he said. “And maybe now we’ll start going after criminals and perpetrators of these heinous acts.”

    The court’s decision is somewhat out of step with public opinion. About half of the voters in the 2020 presidential election said gun laws in the U.S. should be made more strict, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of the electorate. An additional one-third said laws should be kept as they are, while only about 1 in 10 said gun laws should be less strict.

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    About 8 in 10 Democratic voters said gun laws should be made more strict, VoteCast showed. Among Republican voters, roughly half said laws should be kept as they are, while the remaining half closely divided between more and less strict.

    In a dissent joined by his liberal colleagues, Justice Stephen Breyer focused on the toll from gun violence.

    Since the beginning of this year, “there have already been 277 reported mass shootings — an average of more than one per day,” Breyer wrote. He accused his colleagues in the majority of acting “without considering the potentially deadly consequences” of their decision. He said the ruling would “severely” burden states’ efforts to pass laws “that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds.”

    Several other conservative justices who joined Thomas’ majority opinion also wrote separately to add their views.

    Justice Samuel Alito criticized Breyer’s dissent, questioning the relevance of his discussion of mass shootings and other gun death statistics. Alito wrote that the court had decided “nothing about who may lawfully possess a firearm or the requirements that must be met to buy a gun” and nothing “about the kinds of weapons that people may possess.”

    Source : apnews.com

    Supreme Court allows the carrying of firearms in public in major victory for gun rights groups

    The Supreme Court ruled the Constitution provides a right to carry a gun outside the home, issuing a major decision on the meaning of the Second Amendment.

    GUNS IN AMERICA

    Supreme Court allows the carrying of firearms in public in major victory for gun rights groups

    The ruling expands upon a 2008 decision that said the Second Amendment safeguards a person’s right to possess firearms at home for self-protection.

    June 23, 2022, 2:34 PM UTC / Updated June 23, 2022, 6:37 PM UTC

    By Pete Williams

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Constitution provides a right to carry a gun outside the home, issuing a major decision on the meaning of the Second Amendment.

    The 6-3 ruling was the court’s second important decision on the right to “keep and bear arms.” In a landmark 2008 decision, the court had said for the first time that the amendment safeguards a person’s right to possess firearms, although the decision was limited to keeping guns at home for self-defense.

    The court has now taken that ruling to the next step after years of ducking the issue and applied the Second Amendment beyond the limits of homeowners’ property in a decision that could affect the ability of state and local governments to impose a wide variety of firearms regulations.

    The decision, which came as Congress advanced the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in almost 30 years, involved a New York law that required showing a special need to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public. The state bans carrying handguns openly, but it allows residents to apply for licenses to carry them concealed.

    The law at issue said, however, that permits could be granted only to applicants who demonstrated some special need — a requirement that went beyond a general desire for self-protection.

    Gun owners in the state sued, contending that the requirement made it virtually impossible for ordinary citizens to get the necessary license. They argued that the law turned the Second Amendment into a limited privilege, not a constitutional right.

    The court agreed with the challengers and struck down the heightened requirement, but it left the door open to allowing states to impose limits on the carrying of guns.

    Analyzing the impact of the Supreme Court's decision on New York gun rights law

    "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.

    Experts on gun laws said that part of the ruling sets a high bar for further gun restrictions.

    In a concurring opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the ruling does not bar states from imposing licensing requirements for carrying handguns for self-defense, such as fingerprinting, background checks and mental health records checks.

    New York's law was "problematic because it grants open-ended discretion to licensing officials and authorizes licenses only for those applicants who can show some special need apart from self-defense" — in effect, denying citizens the right to carry a gun to protect themselves, he wrote.

    In a dissent joined by liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, Justice Stephen Breyer mentioned recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York, and elsewhere, saying it is "often necessary" for the court to consider gun violence in deciding 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."

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    "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."

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    "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.

    Source : www.nbcnews.com

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