The tragic shootings in Buffalo and Texas have again raised the voices of many who want Congress to pass gun violence reform. Bipartisan talks around ‘red flag’ legislation – allowing authorities to temporarily take guns away from people considered to be a threat to themselves or others have picked up momentum. However, an upcoming Supreme Court opinion might loosen America’s gun laws even more, as noted by CNN.
Supreme Court Justices are currently writing their opinions and dissents in reference to New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which deals with a 108-year-old concealed carry law in New York. The law requires a resident to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver and demonstrate that “proper cause” exists for the permit – including showing they have a great need for the license and that they face a “special or unique danger to their life.”
Only a handful of states around the country have a law on the books similar to New York. Everything depends on how broad the conservative court rules are in the upcoming case. With oral arguments, Conservative Justice Samuel Alito framed the argument around” law-abiding people riding subways who want to be able to carry a gun to protect themselves.”
“How is that consistent with the core right to self-defense, which is protected by the Second Amendment?” he asked New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood. Some experts note that a broad ruling could change the way gun laws are viewed as a whole.
“As a formal matter, the Supreme Court’s ruling on New York’s gun law doesn’t call into question gun laws restricting types of weapons or sensitive places where individuals can carry guns,” said Jacob Charles, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University School of Law.
“But a broader ruling that changes the way courts evaluate gun laws could call into question a wider array of gun regulations like assault weapons bans and other restrictions like high-capacity magazine bans,” Charles added.
Critics of a potential ruling which could strike down New York’s gun safety law say it will lead to more tragedies—especially considering the accused Brooklyn subway shooter that happened earlier this month.
“If self-proclaimed originalists on the Supreme Court ignore the centuries of history supporting New York’s gun safety law and wrongly force states to allow more guns in public places, more people will be shot and killed and our right to public safety will be in even more danger,” Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law, told CNN.
N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) is seeking to ban people under 21 from buying AR-15 style rifles and will call a special session of local Congress if the Supreme Court rules to overturn the law.