On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court appeared ready to overturn New York’s restrictive concealed weapons law, though judges seemed concerned that an overly broad ruling could jeopardize gun restrictions on subways, bars, stadiums, and other locations. New York’s law puts on a burden to New Yorkers requiring them to show a “special need” to carry a firearm. Chief Justice John Roberts and other members of the court suggested that New York’s law had gone too far and may violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Second Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Second Amendment advocates hope the law is overturned to pave the way for similar laws to be repealed in California and other restrictive states who would also be ruled unconstitutional. About 80 million people live in such states who have had their ability to protect themselves highly limited due to highly restrictive gun laws. These laws cause law-abiding citizens to not own firearms to protect themselves, their families, and their property, while allowing criminals to run roughshod over them as they purchase firearms on the black market.
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right to own and carry a gun under the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to have a gun in their home for self-defense. On Wednesday, the question arose about how far state and local governments can go to regulate whether a person can carry a weapon outside the home. New York states that its law is not an outright prohibition on carrying weapons but a more moderate restriction. During a two-hour discussion between lawyers and the justices, about six other states have similar laws like New York’s restrictive concealed weapons law.
Chief Justice John Roberts asked why should a person who requires a license to carry a gun in public for self-defense to prove a special need to do so. “The idea that you need a license to exercise the right, I think, is unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights,” he said.