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Supreme Court Strikes Down NY Concealed Handgun Laws

Read the Supreme Court's Decision here.

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York handgun law that required New Yorkers who want to carry a handgun in public to show a special need to defend themselves.

The Supreme Court ruled the law is unconstitutional 6-3, along ideological lines. 

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, writing the majority opinion, argued that this requirement of the law “violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

During oral arguments last November, the NRA made an appeal for loosening restrictions. “In a country with the Second Amendment as a fundamental right, simply having more firearms cannot be a problem,” one of the group’s attorneys, Paul Clement, said.

National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre said in a statement. “The right to self-defense and to defend your family and loved ones should not end at your home. This ruling brings life-saving justice to law-abiding Americans who have lived under unconstitutional regimes all across our country, particularly in cities and states with revolving door criminal justice systems, no cash bail and increased harassment of law-enforcement.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the decision was “reprehensible” while  saying she is prepared to call the state’s legislature back into session “to deal with this.”

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement: “This Supreme Court decision will not prevent Connecticut from enforcing its responsible gun ownership laws. As a matter of fact, the court specifically distinguished our approach when it comes to the issuance of permits and tools for law enforcement to keep firearms out of the hands of those who may do harm. However, we should all be concerned that today’s ruling heralds a newly aggressive effort to second-guess commonsense state and local policies that save lives while accommodating both gun rights and gun safety. One thing we know is true – more guns do not make us safer, and as governor I will continue to pursue policies that make our laws stronger to keep our residents out of harm’s way.”

In a statement released by the White House, President Joe Biden said that he was “deeply disappointed” by Thursday’s ruling, which he described as contrary to “both commonsense and the Constitution.” 

The Department of Justice released the following statement through spokeswoman Dena Iverson following the decision:

“We respectfully disagree with the Court’s conclusion that the Second Amendment forbids New York’s reasonable requirement that individuals seeking to carry a concealed handgun must show that they need to do so for self-defense. The Department of Justice remains committed to saving innocent lives by enforcing and defending federal firearms laws, partnering with state, local and tribal authorities and using all legally available tools to tackle the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our communities.”

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