Why was New York’s concealed gun law overturned? Supreme Court strikes down century-old rule

Supreme Court strikes down law relating to gun usage (Image via Getty Images)
Supreme Court strikes down law relating to gun usage (Image via Getty Images)

The US Supreme Court has struck down a New York law that restricts carrying concealed weapons in public. The ruling comes when the nation is reeling from a series of mass shootings.

The law required residents to establish a "proper cause" to get a license to carry the weapon, along with mentioning whether they faced "a special or unique" danger.

However, the 6-3 decision ruled that this requirement violated the Constitutional right to bear arms. With this announcement, the gun laws were relaxed further and will eventually increase the circulation of the weapon.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas held that Americans have a right to carry "commonly used" firearms in public to protect themselves. Justice Thomas delivered the majority opinion for the ideologically divided court, writing that New York's "proper-cause requirement" prevented law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment right, and its licensing regime is unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, Justice Stephen Breyer, who expressed his dissent over the ruling, pointed out the impact of gun violence.

Writing in dissent for the liberal wing of the court, he wrote:

"Since the start of this year alone (2022), there have already been 277 reported mass shootings—an average of more than one per day."

US President Joe Biden disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision

After the Supreme Court ruling, mixed reactions were observed across the country. President Biden said he was "deeply disappointed" with the decision. Biden said the ruling "contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should trouble us all."

Reacting to the ruling, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said:

"Shocking, absolutely shocking that they have taken away our right to have reasonable restrictions. We can have restrictions on speech. You can't yell fire in a crowded theater, but somehow there are no restrictions allowed on the Second Amendment?"

Even New York City mayor Eric Adams said the verdict has likely "put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence."

Mayor Adams further said:

"This decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, but we will do everything we can to dam it."

Only about a half dozen states have laws similar to New York's. These states are California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. However, these states have some of the most densely populated cities in America.

Around 25 states allow people to carry concealed weapons in most public spaces without a permit, background check, or safety training, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Civilians in America own over 390 million guns. As per the study, more than 45,000 Americans have died from firearms-related injuries, including homicides and suicides, in 2020.

The ruling was a win for groups backing Second Amendment rights and individuals' rights. They claimed the law was imperative to protect themselves. However, several New York Democrats expressed disappointment over the ruling, referring to the increased rise in gun attacks and violence.

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Edited by Sayati Das
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