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Supreme Court strikes down public firearm carry licensing law

Supreme Court Abortion
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jun 23, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a New York gun law that required a person applying for a license has to show a specific need to carry the weapon violated the Second and 14th Amendments.

The Court's six conservatives voted in concert as the three liberals voted in opposition. The opinion was written by Clarence Thomas. Thomas contends it's a constitutional right to carry a weapon for self-defense purposes.

"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," Thomas wrote.

Thomas wrote that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a gun outside the home.

"Nothing in the Second Amendment's text draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms, and the definition of 'bear' naturally encompasses public carry," Thomas wrote. "Moreover, the Second Amendment guarantees an 'individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.'"

Thomas noted, however, that some places might be off-limits to allowing the public to carry firearms. Thomas also noted that states can still enact laws that limit who has access to weapons.

"Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms," he wrote.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul responded to Thursday's ruling with outrage.

"It is outrageous that at a moment of national reckoning on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who can carry concealed weapons," she wrote on Twitter. "In response to this ruling, we are closely reviewing our options – including calling a special session of the legislature. Just as we swiftly passed nation-leading gun reform legislation, I will continue to do everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence."

President Joe Biden said he was "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

"Since 1911, the State of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self-defense and to acquire a license," he said. "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."