Carrying firearms outside the home is permitted in New York State

The US Supreme Court made clear Thursday for the first time that Americans have the right to carry a gun outside their homes, in a ruling that threatens to complicate efforts to combat the already troubling violence.

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The six conservative justices, against the advice of their three progressive colleagues, repealed a New York state law that for more than a century had severely limited gun licenses.

The decision comes as the United States is still reeling from a spate of deadly shootings, one of which on May 24 killed 21 people at an elementary school in Texas, leading Republican senators so far to antagonize any gun regulation to support reforms. modest.

“Deeply disappointed,” Democratic President Joe Biden lamented the “common sense” pause that “should be concerned all of us.” New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochhol denounced the “shameful decision in the midst of the national consciousness about gun violence.”

Kathy Hochhol

On the contrary, the powerful armed lobby group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), celebrated “a turning point for the good men and women of America and the result of decades of struggle.”

Concretely, the decision relates to New York law that, since 1913, has restricted the issue of concealed-carry permits to persons who had reason to believe they might have to defend themselves, for example because of their occupation or threats. against them.

It was challenged in court by two gun owners, who were denied permits, and a subsidiary of the NRA, which campaigns for a literal reading of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Ratified in 1791, it states that “the existence of a well-organized militia is essential to the security of a free nation, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

sensitive places

In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to use guns as part of a law enforcement force, such as the military or the police, but it is not an individual right to self-defense.

She changed her position during a landmark ruling in 2008 and established for the first time an individual right to have a gun in her home for self-defense.

At the time, it was left to cities and states to regulate out-of-home transportation, so currently the rules vary widely from place to place.

Thursday’s ruling puts an end to that latitude by establishing the right to carry a “pistol outside the home.”

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote on behalf of the majority: “Nothing in the Second Amendment discriminates between home or public spaces with respect to the carrying of arms.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

France Press agency

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

“Reasonable and well-defined limitations” are still possible, especially in “sensitive places” such as legislatures or courts, but it is up to the courts to evaluate them with regard to American “history and tradition,” he writes.

400 million

The court’s three progressive justices rejected the ruling, which they said “severely limits states’ efforts to try to reduce gun violence.”

Acting “without considering the potentially serious consequences of its decision,” the court expressed regret on behalf of Justice Stephen Breyer, noting that “in 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms.”

Initially, the decision should strike down laws similar to New York law in force in five other states, including some populated states such as California or New Jersey, and the City of Washington.

Other restrictions applicable mainly in democratic countries can be challenged in court under this new legal framework.

Nearly 400 million guns were in circulation among the civilian population in the United States in 2017, or 120 guns for every 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey Project.

Last year, more than 20,000 firearms murders were recorded in the Gun Violence Archive.

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