By Eduard Ribas i Admetlla
Washington, Jun 23 (EFE).- The United States Supreme Court struck down Thursday a 1911 New York law restricting the carrying of a concealed handgun in public, a decision certain to intensify the debate about the Constitution’s Second Amendment, which establishes a right to bear arms, in the wake of recent mass shootings.
The New York legislation required people seeking a concealed-carry permit to provide justification for why they needed to go about armed.
Seven other states – California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island – have similar laws that are unlikely to stand in light of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, handed down as Democratic and Republican senators appeared to be nearing agreement on a modest gun-control bill.
“This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.
The court ruled on a suit brought by two individuals and the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association after authorities rejected the individuals’ applications for concealed-carry permits.
All six of the court’s conservative justices, three of them appointed by Donald Trump, voted to overturn the New York law, while the three liberal members took the opposite view.
Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said that New York’s requirement to demonstrate a need to carry a weapon had the effect of turning the Second Amendment into a “second-class right.”
“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,” he wrote.
In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer referred to recent mass shootings, such as the racially motivated killings of 10 African Americans at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store, and the slaughter of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The majority’s decision “severely burdens States’ efforts to curb gun violence,” he said.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul blasted the ruling.
“It is outrageous that at a moment of national reckoning on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who can carry concealed weapons,” she wrote on Twitter.
The bipartisan package, which addresses mental health and school safety and sales of weapons to people under 21, cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Thursday and looked likely to pass before senators leave for the Fourth of July recess.
Though polls show wide support for more stringent measures, such as reinstating the assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004, Republicans remain unwilling to consider those steps
“This is not a cure-all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation, but it is a long overdue step in the right direction. It’s significant, it’s going to save lives, and it’s my intention to get it done as soon as we can,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.) said Thursday.
The Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the bill “would make our country safer without making it less free.”
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being essential to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” EFE