Explosive Supreme Court Gun Ruling Opens New State Battles

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Democratic-led states that have lost power over concealed carry are looking for other ways to restrict guns in public.

Hours after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the Second Amendment last week, Democratic-run jurisdictions began scrambling to find new ways to limit guns in public.

The ruling says laws requiring applicants for concealed-carry licenses to prove they have a specific need for self-defense violate the Second and 14th Amendments. The sweeping change overturns a 1913 New York law and upends concealed carry systems in several other states.

Shooting range owner John Deloca readies his pistol at his shooting range in Queens, New York on June 23.

ED JONES via Getty Images

The prospect of more people carrying concealed weapons in populous jurisdictions that generally favor tighter restrictions sparked a political storm last Thursday that cast a shadow over the landmark compromise bill passed in the Senate later in the day. (President Joe Biden signed the bill in law saturday.) And he promised to widen the growing divide between blue states, which generally favor stricter gun policy, and red states, which generally aim to preserve or ease gun restrictions. fire.

“It will be easier to get a license,” said Eric Ruben, a Second Amendment expert at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. “You can expect more people in these affected states to carry handguns.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) called the Legislature in Albany to cope with change. California lawmakers began pushing forward bills they had drafted for the Supreme Court’s decision.

In Hawaii, which issued only four concealed carry permits in the past two decades, lawmakers have pondered how to preserve the state’s strict policies. Meanwhile, people lined up in front of the Honolulu Police Department to apply for concealed carry permits before new laws can come into force.

New York law required concealed carry applicants to show they had a specific need for self-defense, rather than a generalized fear of being attacked. States with similar policies — New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware and California — can no longer impose this requirement, eliminating a key filter to limit concealed carry permits.

The loss of this tool is causing lawmakers in affected states to consider extending “weapons-free zones” to public transit infrastructure and crowded places.

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said Thursday she would sponsor a resolution that do the whole town a weapons-free zone. However, this strategy would contradict the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who said that jurisdictions cannot limit concealed carry based on population size or density alone.

In a way, judgment is as important for what it doesn’t say as for what it does. In recent years, conservative activists have passed laws in several state legislatures allowing people to carry concealed handguns without applying for a license. Proponents often call the measure “constitutional carry.”

But last week’s ruling left untouched concealed carry licensing systems – which some legal experts believed the Supreme Court could scrap altogether.

“They could have set carrying without a license as a constitutional floor,” Rubin said. “They didn’t do that.”

This means that local jurisdictions will always have the discretion to limit concealed carry.

Even with the state law overturned, for example, New York City has one of the highest bars in the nation for obtaining a concealed carry permit.

The applicant must go through a lengthy process that involves completing a 17-page application, gathering several supporting documentspass a background check and undergo an interview with the police – just to get the license needed to buy a handgun in the first place.

The current wait time to get a handgun license in New York ranges from one to two years, according to Arnold Wachtel of Advanced Protection Consultants, a company that helps applicants navigate the system. Only after clearing this first hurdle can applicants apply for a concealed carry permit.

In response to the ruling, lawmakers in some states are already considering imposing similar requirements. The requirement for education, training, examinations, interviews or thorough background checks before issuing concealed carry permits remains constitutional.

“What these states are going to look at is how do we tighten up the eligibility requirements,” said Adam Skaggs, chief attorney at Giffords Law Center, a gun reform group. “But all of these things can be challenged by the gun lobby.”



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