US Supreme Court expands right to carry guns in public, strikes down NY’s curbs

The ruling came with recent mass shootings fresh in the nation’s mind and gun-control legislation being debated in Congress and beyond
People attend "March for Our Lives" rally, one of a series of nationwide protests against gun violence, in New York City, US. (REUTERS)
People attend "March for Our Lives" rally, one of a series of nationwide protests against gun violence, in New York City, US. (REUTERS)
Updated on Jun 24, 2022 07:57 AM IST
Copy Link

In a landmark decision on Thursday, the US Supreme Court struck down a New York state law restricting people from carrying guns in public without a permit, paving the way for an expansion of the right to carry arms in public in at least six other states which had imposed similar restrictions, even as the country confronts a spurt in mass shootings.

In the majority judgment written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court framed it as a defence of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, saying, “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”

The verdict said that the framers of the Constitution had made a clear choice to allow all Americans the right to bear arms for self defence. The case in question involved two individuals who challenged New York’s decision to deny their requests for unrestricted licenses. While, they claimed it was for self defence, authorities said they had not proven the need for this special protection.

The decision again highlights the impact of a shift in the balance of power on the Supreme Court bench in recent years: all six conservative justices supported the right to carry guns in public, while three liberal judges voted against it.

The verdict comes just weeks after an unprecedented leak of the majority verdict on an abortion case, which indicated that the court is all set to overturn the nationwide protections afforded to abortion as a result of the Roe v Wade decision of 1973. This will open doors for states to ban or circumscribe abortion rights.

The decision comes even as a hate crime in Buffalo in New York, which killed ten people, and a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers, triggered public outrage and even led to a rare, bipartisan Senate deal on a limited set of gun control measures.

By early June, US had already witnessed 250 instances of mass shootings this year. Last year, there were more than 750 mass shootings, a jump from 611 in 2020, according to a report in the Washington Post.

President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by the verdict.

“More than a century later, the United States Supreme Court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens. This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” Biden said in a statement.

He said that the Second Amendment was not an absolute right and states had regulated who may purchase or possess weapons, the types of weapons they may use, and the places they may carry those weapons.

“And the courts have upheld these regulations. I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line,” he added.

New York governor Katherine Hochul called the verdict “deeply shocking” and promised a legislative measure to impose new restrictions on the ability of citizens to carry guns in sensitive locations, allow businesses and private property owners to set their own restrictions, and create a permit process for gun ownership.

The National Rifle Association called the verdict a “watershed win”.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times. He is also the editor of HT Premium. Jha has earlier served as editor-views and national political editor/bureau chief of the paper. He is the author of How the BJP Wins: Inside India's Greatest Election Machine and Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A forensic technician ties a used police line together to seal off a crime scene in Monterrey. 

    Man dies in jet-propelled truck crash at US air show

    Video taken at the Battle Creek Executive Airport by apparent air show attendees and posted on social media showed the truck losing control, bursting into flames and crashing, flipping over multiple times as horrified spectators looked on.

  • An ambulance and armed police are seen during the evacuation of people at the Fields shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 3, 2022 after Danish media reported a shooting. (Photo by Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP)

    3 dead after shooting at shopping mall in Copenhagen; one arrested

    The Royal House said on its website late on Sunday that an event in southern Denmark to commemorate the end of the first three stages of the Tour de France cycling race, hosted by the Danish Crown Prince and with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in attendance, had been cancelled.

  • People rally in support of abortion rights Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Texas clinics halt abortions after state high court ruling

    The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. The following day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in a state of nearly 30 million people.

  • Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

    Google to delete user location history on US abortion clinic visits

    "If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 04, 2022