US Supreme Court strikes down gun law

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The US Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York law that restricted carrying guns in public, in a major ruling in favor of gun rights.

The judges’ 6-3 decision is expected to ultimately allow more people to be legally permitted to carry guns on the streets of the nation’s largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Boston, and elsewhere. About a quarter of the country’s population lives in states that could be affected by the ruling, the top court’s first major gun decision in more than a decade.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s ruling, which “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should concern us all deeply.”

Biden urged states to pass new laws and called on “Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. There are lives at stake.”

For his part, Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, a state association that defends gun ownership, applauded the ruling.

“The rightful and legal New York State gun owner will no longer be persecuted by laws that have nothing to do with the safety of the people,” he said. “And maybe now we’ll start going after the criminals and perpetrators of these heinous acts,” King added.

The ruling comes as a bipartisan gun violence bill in the Senate on Thursday overcame a Republican filibuster, paving the way for the most far-reaching response in Congress in decades to a spate of brutal mass shootings in the country.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said the Constitution protects “the right of an individual to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home.”

In their decision, the justices struck down a New York law that requires people to demonstrate a particular need to carry a gun in order to obtain a license to carry it in public. The justices said the requirement violated the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws that are likely to be appealed as a result of the ruling. President Joe Biden’s administration had urged judges to uphold the New York law.

Supporters of the New York law argue that repealing it would ultimately lead to more guns on the streets and higher rates of violent crime. The decision comes at a time when gun violence — already on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic — is on the rise again.

The Supreme Court last issued a major decision on guns in 2010. In that decision and a 2008 ruling, the justices established the national right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. The case for the court this time was about permission to carry a weapon while away from home.

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