Washington (AFP) – The Supreme Court has issued its largest ruling on gun rights in more than a decade. Here are some questions and answers about what Thursday’s resolution does and doesn’t:
What exactly is the Supreme Court ruling on guns?
The Supreme Court has said that Americans have the right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. This is important because about half a dozen states It required a permit to carry a gun in public on a person who demonstrated an actual need—sometimes called a “good cause” or “appropriate reason”—to carry a gun. This limits who can carry a gun in those countries.
In its decision, the Supreme Court struck down the “appropriate cause” requirement for New York, but other states’ laws are expected to face rapid challenges. About a quarter of the US population lives in states that are expected to be affected by the ruling.
The last time the court made major decisions on weapons was in 2008 and 2010. In those decisions, judges have established a nationwide right to keep a self-defense handgun in a person’s home. This time the court’s question was only about carrying a gun outside.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the Court’s majority opinion that the right extends outside the home as well: “Nothing in the text of the Second Amendment draws a distinction between home/public with respect to the right to keep and bear arms.”
How does the court rule?
The gun rule split the Court 6-3, with the Court’s conservative justices in the majority and liberals in opposition. In addition to Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett joined in. The three Liberals on the court opposing are Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Are New Yorkers free to carry a gun in public?
not exactly. The judges have not touched on other parts of New York’s gun law, so other requirements for a license remain. The court made clear that the state can continue to urge people to apply for a license to carry a handgun, and can place restrictions on who qualifies for a permit and where to carry a gun. However, future New Yorkers will not be required to provide a specific reason for wanting to carry a gun in public.
Nor did the decision take effect immediately, and state lawmakers said Thursday they plan to reform licensing rules this summer. They have not yet detailed their plans. Some of the options under discussion include requiring firearms training and a clean criminal record. The state may also prohibit the carrying of handguns in certain places, such as nearby schools or on public transportation.
In addition, the decision does not deal with the law that was recently passed in New York In response to the Buffalo grocery store massacre, which, among other things, prohibited anyone under the age of 21 from buying or possessing a semi-automatic rifle.
What other countries are likely to be affected?
A few states have laws similar to New York’s. The Biden administration considered California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island all to have laws similar to New York’s. Connecticut and Delaware are sometimes referred to as countries with similar laws.
What can states do to regulate guns after the decision?
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, accompanied by Chief Justice John Roberts, noted the limitations of the decision. Kavanaugh writes that states can still require people to have a license to carry a gun, requiring that license be on “fingerprinting, background checks, examinations of mental health records, training in the handling of firearms and in laws regarding the use of force, among other possible requirements.” “. Arms control groups said states could reconsider and possibly increase those requirements. States can also say that those who have a license to carry a gun must not do so in public but must conceal their weapon.
Judge Samuel Alito noted that the decision said nothing about who legally owns a firearm or the requirements that must be met to purchase one. States have long prohibited criminals and the mentally ill from possessing guns, for example. Alito noted that the resolution said nothing about “the kinds of weapons people might have,” so countries might also try to limit the availability of certain weapons.
The judges also suggested that states could completely ban the carrying of weapons in certain “sensitive places”. An earlier Supreme Court decision stated that schools and government buildings are places where weapons can be prohibited. Thomas said the historical record shows that legislatures, polling places and courts can also be sensitive places. Thomas said that courts could “use comparisons to those historical regulations” for sensitive places “to determine that recent regulations prohibiting the carrying of firearms in new and similar sensitive locations are constitutionally permissible.”
How do courts assess continued restrictions on the gun?
The court has made it difficult to justify the arms restrictions, although it is difficult to know what the new test announced by the court will mean for any specific regulation.
Thomas wrote that the country’s appellate courts were applying an incorrect criterion for assessing whether these laws were impermissible. Courts have generally taken a two-step approach, first looking at the constitutional text and history to see if regulations fall under the Second Amendment, and then, if they do, examining the government’s justification for the restriction.
“Despite the popularity of this two-step approach,” Thomas wrote, “it is one step too many.”
Thomas wrote that from now on, courts could only support regulations if the government could show that they fell within traditionally accepted limits.
Among state and local restrictions that have already been challenged in federal court are bans on the sale of certain semi-automatic weapons, which opponents call assault rifles, and large-capacity magazines, as well as minimum age requirements for purchasing semi-automatic firearms.
What other big judgments are there at work?
The Supreme Court heard arguments in the arms case In November, a decision was expected before the court began its summer recess. The court has nine more opinions to issue before it goes into recess and plans to issue more on Friday. Still waiting for a major decision on abortion.
Associated Press editor David Caruso contributed to this report from New York.