The US Supreme Court seems ready to bring down a restrictive gun permitting law, which could come as a huge victory for gun rights and the Second Amendment. The conservative majority on the court appears to be inclined to uphold and expand individual gun rights under the Second Amendment.
“The conservative majority court is expected to rule in the coming days or weeks in a pending dispute over New York state’s tight limits on the concealed carry of handguns. Experts said that while it’s unclear just how broadly the Supreme Court would rule, the restrictive New York law is likely to be invalidated in a decision that could have ramifications for gun control efforts across the country,” -reported The Hill. “It does seem relatively clear that the court is going to strike down New York’s law and make it harder for cities and states to restrict concealed carry of firearms,” Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law, told the outlet.
“New York’s law goes too far” according to conservative justices
The Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this year on whether New York’s law violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
US Chief Justice John Roberts along with some other conservative justices seem to suggest that the law in New York goes too far. In one instance, Roberts inquired whether a person seeking a license to carry a gun in public for self-defence must demonstrate a special need to do so, implying his support for the Second Amendment.
“The idea that you would need a license to exercise a right is unusual with regard to the Bill of Rights,” Roberts said, adding, “Could a football stadium or a college campus be off-limits? What sort of place do you think they could be excluded from? Any place where alcohol is served?”
Justice Samuel Alito proposed allowing New York City residents to carry firearms on the subway late at night, for example, while Roberts asked New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, “How many muggings occur in the forest?”
Striking down the law could have “devastating consequences for public safety”
The law that is under scrutiny in the court has been around since 1913 and allows people to carry a concealed handgun in public places for self-defence purposes, while people who are applying for a license have to demonstrate “proper cause”, i.e, an actual need to carry the weapon. Applicants who get the license are either issued an unrestricted one that allows them the broad ability to carry a weapon in public places or a restricted one that allows the license holder to carry a gun only under certain circumstances hunting or target shooting, when travelling for work, or when in backcountry areas.
This comes as liberals advocate for gun control measures in the aftermath of tragic shootings in New York and Texas.
The defenders of the law argued that striking it down would lead to more people carrying dangerous weapons on the streets and in public places of cities including New York and Los Angeles, which could have “devastating consequences for public safety”.
This argument seems backed up by the recent tragedy in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old boy opened fire and killed at least 21 people, including 19 children and 2 teachers.
Republicans appear in support of striking the law
Gun control has long been a popular subject in Democratic strongholds. In the aftermath of the recent shootings, the House Judiciary Committee — whose chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, is now facing a Democratic primary challenge from a fellow incumbent — has scheduled a meeting for Thursday to mark up legislation that includes proposals to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles and ban high-capacity magazines.
On the other hand, a majority of Republicans seem entrenched in their support for holding up gun rights. Former President Donald Trump at the NRA Annual Meeting in Huston, Texas last week, backed Republican calls to oppose new gun restrictions, instead advocating for increased mental health care and school security.
“Now is the time to find common ground,” Trump said. “Sadly, before the sun had even set on the horrible day of tragedy, we witnessed a now-familiar parade of cynical politicians seeking to exploit the tears of sobbing families to increase their own power and take away our constitutional rights.”
The former president called for more attention to strengthening security in schools and mental health facilities, instead of imposing restrictions on carrying arms. “We need to drastically change our approach to mental health,” Trump said. “All of us must unite, Republican and Democrat, in every state and at every level of government to finally harden our schools and protect our children. What we need now is a top-to-bottom security overhaul at schools all across our country.”
US Senator Ted Cruz seemed to echo the same sentiments and proposed more security at schools. “We may have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built. And what I mean by that is there are too many entrances and too many exits to our more than 8,000 campuses in Texas,” – he said in a statement.
“The elites who dominate our culture, tell us that firearms lie at the root of the problem. By elites, I refer to some of the most powerful politicians and their allies in the media, the leaders of the largest corporations and many of the most famous celebrities and those who echo and amplify them.” – he stated further, adding that taking guns away will not be of much help. “Taking guns away from these responsible Americans will not make them safer, nor will it make our nation more secure. In an age where elites embrace defunding the police, when homelessness runs rampant when gangs dominate entire communities, and when radical district attorneys refuse to prosecute violent crime in cities across America, rarely has the Second Amendment been more necessary to secure the rights of our fellow citizens.” -Cruz said.