The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution gives people the right to carry a gun outside their home, in a significant new ruling for gun rights.
The decision is expected to allow more people to legally carry firearms in some of America’s biggest cities – such as LA, New York and Boston – and is the court’s first major decision on gun rights in more than a decade.
The Supreme Court justices quashed a New York law – in place since 1913 – that required people to show a particular need in order to get a license to carry a concealed gun in public.
They said it violated the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms”.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision “absolutely shocking” and said she was “sorry this dark day has come.”
President Biden, whose administration had urged the court to keep the status quo, said he was disappointed.
People can legally carry a gun in public in much of the US, but it is more difficult in some states.
In New York, “proper cause” has to be shown when applying for an unrestricted concealed-carry license. This includes showing an actual, rather than a speculative, need for self defense.
California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland and Rhode Island have similar laws that are now likely to be challenged.
Supporters of the New York law had argued that a change would lead to more guns on the streets and violent crime.
But the court concluded that the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self defense outside the home”.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who authored the ruling, said the New York law “prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms”.
He added: “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to
government officers some special need. “
The ruling was split 6-3, with the conservative justices backing the change and the liberal members dissenting.
The Supreme Court last ruled on gun rights in 2008 and 2010 when it said the Second Amendment enshrined the right to keep a gun inside the home.
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