WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared to be ready to overturn New York’s restrictive gun law, but judges also appear to be concerned that a sweeping ruling could jeopardize gun restrictions on subways, bars, stadiums and other gathering places.
The court heard arguments in its largest gun case in more than a decade – the dispute over whether New York City law violates the right to “keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment.
Chief Justice John Roberts and other conservative members of the court, which has a 6: 3 conservative majority, suggested that New York’s law went too far. Why, Roberts asked, should a person seeking a license to carry a weapon in public for self-defense have a special need to do so. “The idea that you need a license to exercise a right is unusual in the Bill of Rights,” he said.
But Roberts was also among the judges who insisted that lawyers challenge the law on where weapons might be banned. He asked if the football stadium or college campus could be closed.
“Where do you think they can be excluded from? Is there a place that serves alcohol? Roberts asked.
Paul Clement, speaking on behalf of New Yorkers who want unrestricted right to carry concealed weapons in public, responded that while government buildings and schools may be closed, bars “can be tougher for the government.”
But in response to questions from judges Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett, Clement suggested that perhaps gun bans on the NYC subway system, Yankee Stadium and Times Square on New Year’s Eve might be in order.
Judicial liberals seemed willing to let state law remain in place, focusing especially on the differences between rural areas and more densely populated cities and suburbs. Defenders of the law said that its destruction would lead to an increase in the number of firearms on the streets of cities, including New York and Los Angeles.
The last time a court made important decisions on gun rights was in 2008 and 2010. These decisions established a nationwide right to keep weapons at home for self-defense purposes. Now the court is faced with the question of publicly carrying weapons for self-defense purposes.
In most countries, gun owners do not have much difficulty in carrying a gun legally when they go out. But about half a dozen states, including populous California and several eastern states, restrict the carrying of arms to those who can demonstrate a special need to do so. The judges can decide whether these laws, known as “making” laws, can act.
Arguments emerge as gun violence escalates. Firearms control groups say that if a high court ruling requires states to lift restrictions, the result will be even more violence. Gun rights groups, meanwhile, argue that the risk of confrontation is the reason why they have the right to be armed in self-defense.
New York City law, which the court is considering, has been in effect since 1913 and states that in order to carry a concealed pistol in public in self-defense, an applicant for a license must demonstrate a “proper reason,” a valid need to carry the weapon. … Licensed candidates are issued either an unlimited license, which gives them ample opportunity to carry a weapon in public, or a limited license, which allows them to carry a weapon under certain circumstances. These circumstances include hunting or target shooting, travel to work or to remote areas.
New York states that if the Supreme Court sided with opponents of the law, it would have “devastating consequences for public safety”, overturn long-standing laws such as New York law, and jeopardize state firearms restrictions. and the federal government in airport congestion areas. to schools.
The Biden administration, which urges judges to abide by New York law, says California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws that could be influenced by a court decision. Connecticut and Delaware also have “right to publish” laws, although they are slightly different.