PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) – Supreme Court decision to repeal New York’s gun licensing law has states with strict gun controls scrambling to respond on two fronts – to see what concealed carry measures they might be allowed to enforce while also preparing to defend a wide range of other gun control policies .
The language in the court’s majority opinion heightened concerns that other state laws, from an age limit on gun purchases to a ban on high-capacity magazines, may now be at risk.
“The court basically called an open season on our gun laws, and so I expect litigation across the board,” said New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin, a Democrat. “We will advocate for our gun laws because these gun laws save lives.”
Thursday’s court ruling Specifically, it repealed New York law that had been in place since 1913 and required people applying for a concealed carry permit to demonstrate a specific need to have a gun in public, such as showing an imminent threat to their safety. The court’s conservative majority said that would violate the Second Amendment, which it interpreted as protecting the right of people to bear arms for self-defense outside the home.
While the ruling does not touch upon any other laws, the majority opinion opens the door for gun rights advocates to challenge them in the future, said Alex McCourt, director of legal research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
Pro-gun groups in several states said they plan to do just that.
Attorney Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Handgun Association, said the group is preparing to expand its legal challenges based on the Supreme Court’s change of legal criteria used to assess whether gun control laws are constitutional.
Courts now only have to consider whether the gun control regulation is in line with the actual text of the Second Amendment and its historical understanding, according to Thursday’s ruling. Prior to that, judges could also consider the state’s social justification for passing the Gun Control Act.
Michel said the standard will affect three prominent California laws. Legal challenges to state limits on assault weapons, its requirements for background checks on ammunition purchases and its ban on online ammunition sales are pending in a federal appeals court.
“All of these laws should be repealed under this new Supreme Court standard,” he said.
The Supreme Court is also considering whether to adopt a California law banning magazines with more than 10 bullets, as well as a similar law in New Jersey. He expects the court to consider those laws under the new standard.
The new restrictive landscape of gun laws spelled out in a majority opinion Thursday is not without states having escape routes, especially those that may wish to impose some restrictions on concealed carry permits.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, said states can still request that People to obtain a license to carry a gun and to require it on things like background checks and mental health records. They can also specify where guns are allowed, indicating that states can ban firearms in “sensitive places” such as schools, courts or polling places.
This leaves an opportunity for governors and state legislators in New York and the other six states With similar concealed carry laws: California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
In California, lawmakers are amending legislation to expand the qualifications people must have for a concealed carry permit and to specify where weapons are prohibited. The first hearing of the revised bill will take place on Tuesday, and lawmakers hope to quickly send it to the government. Gavin Newsom, who called Thursday’s Supreme Court decision shameful.
Other Democratic governors, legislators, and state attorneys general have also pledged to defend or amend gun laws.
Most state legislatures are wrapping up or are already over for the year, so any response is likely to wait until next year. Rhode Island Representative. Robert Craven, the attorney, said he would study the opinion in the New York case to determine whether it raised a concern that the Rhode Island requirement could be challenged, and whether that could be addressed by legislation.
He wondered whether the Supreme Court would now use a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment—that the right to bear arms is absolute—and apply it to other laws, such as those prohibiting military-style weapons.
“I see the court heading in that direction,” Craven said.
In Hawaii, the Democratic state of Mon. Chris Lee said lawmakers will try to determine how else they can ensure public safety and will consider screening, training requirements and ways to keep guns out of some public places — provisions that judges said would be allowed.
“The bottom line is that Hawaii is on the cusp of becoming a much more dangerous place,” State Moon said. Karl Rhodes, Democrat. “Hawaii is going from a place where the right to carry in public is the exception to a place where you don’t have the right to carry on the street is an exception. I don’t see any restrictions on the type of firearm.”
Gun rights groups in Hawaii and elsewhere praised the ruling. In Maryland, Mark Pinnack, president of a gun rights group challenging the state’s concealed-carry law, said he was “extremely pleased” with the Supreme Court’s decision because there was “simply no way” the law could be defended anymore.
Democratic leaders in the Maryland General Assembly said that if necessary, they would pass legislation that sets the new precedent but still protects residents.
New Jersey. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, criticized the court’s opinion for limiting how states handle the spread of firearms in public places, but he pledged to protect the state’s gun control measures. He said his administration believes the state can still regulate who can carry concealed weapons and where they can take them.
He pledged that his administration would “do everything in its power to protect our residents.”
Associated Press book Bobby Kayna Calvin in New York; Mike Catalini in Trenton, New Jersey; Jennifer Keeler in Honolulu; Alana Dworkin Richer in Boston; Don Thompson in Sacramento, California; Marina Villeneuve in Albany, New York; Brian Waite in Annapolis, Maryland, contributed to this report.