Many Americans have become more concerned with public safety in response to a rise in street crime encouraged by the Democratic party’s policies. But in parts of the country, the right to self-defense is strictly regulated. A new Supreme Court case on gun rights could change that.
New York is one of a handful of states that requires “proper cause” to carry a concealed firearm in public, but the Supreme Court gestured at striking down the restrictive law during oral arguments Wednesday, Fox News reported.
In the 2008 Heller decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guaranteed a right to self-defense at home.
But in order to properly exercise the right to self-defense, a gun owner must be able to carry their firearm outside the home, where the “need for self-defense is acute,” New York State Rifle & Pistol Association argued before the court in challenging New York’s licensing laws.
The court’s conservatives seemed to agree with that view. By requiring a special reason to carry a weapon outside the home, the New York law appears “unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights,” Chief Justice John Roberts said, according to CBS News.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh similarly noted that New York’s laws seem to give local sheriffs the power to grant or deny a basic constitutional right.
“That’s the real concern, isn’t it, with any constitutional right?” Kavanaugh told New York’s lawyer, Barbara Underwood, according to CBS. “If it’s the discretion of an individual officer, that seems inconsistent with an objective constitutional right.”
Dems on edge
Meanwhile, CBS reports that Justices Alito and Roberts said it would defeat the purpose of the Second Amendment if citizens were left unable to defend themselves in densely populated urban areas like New York, where crime is higher.
“If the purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow people to protect themselves, that’s implicated when you’re in a high-crime area. It’s not implicated when you’re out in the woods,” Roberts said. “How many muggings take place in the forest?”
Still, some justices pointed to circumstances where the right to bear arms in public could be limited, with Amy Coney Barrett invoking Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve.
Naturally, the case has sparked alarm from gun control groups and the court’s liberals, with Stephen Breyer warning of “gun-related chaos.”
But the plaintiffs say it’s simply a matter of recognizing the Second Amendment as written, which New York’s current law “effectively criminalizes.” There won’t be a decision in the case until this summer.