Supreme Court Repeals NY Gun Law Despite Recent Mass Shootings

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Guns are displayed on a table during a gun buy-back event at a church in Staten Island on April 24, 2021, in New York City.
Guns are displayed on a table during a gun buy-back event at a church in Staten Island on April 24, 2021, in New York City.

Despite the majority of Americans favoring some form of gun control after the mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court sees things differently. In another ruling issued today that will have widespread ramifications, The Supreme Court overturned a century-old New York concealed carry permit law, Politico reports. Over 250 mass shootings in the United States have happened this year alone, but one of the biggest cities in the country has to deal with the prospect of more guns on the streets.

Under the standards of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, not only do you have to apply for a concealed carry license, a person has shown “proper cause,” or a specific need, to carry the weapon in New York. The conversation wing of the Supreme Court disagreed with this standard in a 6-3 ruling.

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Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion and determined that the test of “proper cause” violates Americans’ Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” Thomas also claimed the New York law violates the 14th amendment, which made second-amendment rights applicable to the states.

From Politico:

“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” Thomas wrote. “That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”

There’s still some ambiguity as to how the ruling would impact states all over the country. As Politico reports, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts will only affect other states where a gun owner justifies issuing a concealed carry permit.

“The Court’s decision does not prohibit States from imposing licensing requirements for carrying a handgun for self-defense,” Kavanaugh emphasized in a brief concurring opinion Roberts joined.

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer stated today’s ruling hampers state actions as they try to curb gun violence and cited statistics.

“Balancing these lawful uses against the dangers of firearms is primarily the responsibility of elected bodies, such as legislatures,” he wrote. “It requires consideration of facts, statistics, expert opinions, predictive judgments, relevant values, and a host of other circumstances, which together make decisions about how, when, and where to regulate guns more appropriately legislative work. That consideration counsels modesty and restraint on the part of judges when they interpret and apply the Second Amendment.”

“Since the start of this year alone … there have already been 277 reported mass shootings — an average of more than one per day,” Breyer wrote.

In an almost appalling response to Breyer’s dissent, Justice Samuel Alito is claiming the recent rash of gun violence is not adjacent to what laws states can pace. Alito even used the Buffalo shooting as an example.

“Why, for example, does the dissent think it is relevant to recount the mass shootings that have occurred in recent years?,” Alito wrote. “Does the dissent think that laws like New York’s prevent or deter such atrocities? Will a person bent on carrying out a mass shooting be stopped if he knows that it is illegal to carry a handgun outside the home? And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.”

The New York legislative branch has already taken action on gun control policies, while Congress still deliberates on a bipartisan package. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed measures into law on red flag law expansion and the micro-stamping of bullets. Concerning today’s ruling, Hochul called it “frightful in its scope” and said the court was turning “this nation and our ability to protect our citizens back to our founding fathers,” as Politico points out.

“I think everyone should know what happened here. As governor of the state of New York, my number one priority is to keep New Yorkers safe,” Hochul said on Thursday. “But the Supreme Court is sending us backwards in our efforts to protect families and prevent gun violence, and it’s particularly painful that this came down at this moment when we’re still dealing with families in pain from mass shootings.”

If you don’t know by now, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court is remaking precedence in America at an alarming rate. It’s gun control and Miranda rights today, but most likely be women’s right to an abortion tomorrow. New York is still mourning after the Buffalo mass shooting, and there was also a subway shooting in Brooklyn a couple of months ago. The New York government is said to be considering all options regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling.