Supreme Court on Thursday on carrying firearms in public, continuing a trend the Court has seen in recent years of weakening gun restrictions.
The Court’s conservative majority ruled 6-3 that New York could not prohibit gun owners from carrying their guns outdoors based on the state’s finding that citizens had insufficient reason to fear for their own safety.
The case was based on a lawsuit filed by two New York men who were challenging a state law requiring them to have a “good reason” or special need to carry a firearm outdoors. The ruling will have a ripple effect for other states, such as California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.
In Thursday’s ruling, written by conservative judge Clarence Thomas, the Court ruled that the requirement of a valid reason was unconstitutional in New York. The three liberal judges of the Court disagreed with the ruling.
The 6-3 ruling comes just weeks after one of the worst mass shootings in US history, in which 19 children and two teachers were massacred by a young man with a high-powered gun in Uvalde, Texas.
The decision was expected since , when it became clear that all six conservative judges of the state have the authority to determine who has a “good case” and who does not.
“We know of no other constitutional right that a person may exercise only after demonstrating a special need to government officials,” Thomas wrote in Thursday’s decision.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution states, “A properly regulated militia, which is necessary for the security of a free state and the right of the people to keep and bear arms, must not be violated.” The plaintiffs in the New York case argued that state law restricts their right to “bear arms.”
But supporters of the law have said public safety, especially in densely populated urban areas, is also a state government mandate. They argue that states — rather than the Supreme Court — are better equipped to develop policies that balance gun rights with public safety concerns.
“Anglo-American legal tradition has for centuries imposed restrictions on the public carrying of weapons, a tradition that was immediately introduced in the colonies and that existed to protect the public from harm,” New Jersey state attorney Jeremy Feigenbaum wrote recently. . year.
“The simple truth is that what works in a rural region of Alaska may not work in an urban center in New York or New Jersey, and state lawmakers are much better placed to sift through local security evidence and hear from local law enforcement officers than a single national judge,” argued Feigenbaum.
But the plaintiffs’ lead attorney argued last fall that the court should shift state power from restricting the ability to carry firearms outdoors and to restricting the exercise of that right in certain spaces such as schools, government offices, sports arenas. and major public events.
“It is the difference between regulating constitutionally protected activities and trying to convert a basic constitutional right into a privilege that can be enjoyed only by those who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of a government official that they have an atypical need for exercising that right,” plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Clement told the judges.
The majority of the Court agreed with Clement.